Leslie Roy Hobdell was born in south London and by the age of fourteen had already started classes at Camberwell School of Art. In the late 1930s, fascinated by the ballet and stage, Hobdell met Angus McBean. Their friendship led to Hobdell painting a number of trompe l'oeil effects for McBean. These formed as backdrops for McBean's productions. Their surrealist collaborations became extremely well known and in a Picture Post issue of 17 February 1940, a surrealist article was featured on 'How to Photograph a Beauty'. Hobdell had a magical imagination and was described by Lord Faringdon as 'a wayward genius' (see Exhibition catalogue, Beyond the Horizon: Artists at Lintas 1930-1950, London, Agnew's, September 1988, p. 19).