cartoonist and painter, was born in Launceston, Tasmania, on 9 February 1874, son of William Thomas Vincent, a groom, and Frances, née Wilks. Aged seventeen, he published Skits: a memento from the Tasmanian Exhibition, Launceston, 1891-92 . He contributed political cartoons to Melbourne Punch from 1895, e.g. Which is the Burning Question? [Cricket or Federation?] 7 February 1895 (ill. Fabian, 9); A Familiar Saying. “After a Painting by Michael Angelo” [cop chasing man carrying painting] from Melbourne Punch Almanac for 1895 (ill. Fabian, 50); and Standing Room Only [in Melbourne Hospital] 11 June 1896 (illus. Fabian, 94). In December 1896, aged 22, Vincent succeeded Tom Carrington on the main cartoon page of Melbourne Punch (Dow, 73). Also attributed with Will She Go to the Poll? 'Yes; and as the WOMAN knows that the man cannot be trusted to look after the home, SHE will take the family with her’, an anti-suffrage cartoon showing woman in bloomers on bike pulling dog, daughter, babies in pram and kitchen stove, Melbourne Punch 12 November 1896 (ill. Fabian, 10, cropped, no signature).
Vincent contributed to the Sydney Bulletin from 1892, e.g. a cartoon signed 'Alf Vin’, published 13 August 1892, 13, entitled SAD MEMORIES . 'TOTTIE (imperfectly schooled – speaking of a rival): “She doesn’t seem to take the least heed of the proprietries.”/ HE (a Broken Hill shareholder): “I wish I hadn’t taken any notice of 'em when they were a tenner.”’ In 1898 he was appointed Melbourne staff artist for the Bulletin , succeeding Tom Durkin ; he worked in a studio on the top floor of a building in Collins Street once occupied by Arthur Streeton . His early work imitates his idol Phil May , as Lionel Lindsay disparagingly commented (quoted Rolfe, p.50, et al.) – although it was not always so very close and always very competently drawn (see file and Dow). He specialised in what Lindesay (1979, 15) calls 'proletarian humour’. A very May-style cartoon is The Modern Mercia, and the Sirens, the Maid and the Mongol , September 1898, clearly for the Bulletin .
Vincent drew about 900 drawings for the Bulletin , according to Dow, e.g. a statue of the Soudan Donkey (obit. 4 July 1898); a poem by 'L.A.’ 30 July 1898 (in file); Australia wrestles with Death for the body of Alcestis (a parody of Leighton’s painting) 1898 (ill. King, 80); a phrenology joke published 13 August 1898, 11; The Prayer of the Righteous (good apocalyptic war/wowser image) 18 November 1899, 17; The Glorious Twenty-Sixth! 1899 (ill. King, 82) re Federation; The Civilising Wave . 'Bible distributor: “Here, my ignorant brother, is a book I have travelled weary, weary miles to give you.”/ Ignorant brother [tall South Sea islander]: “That’s all right, but if you’ve got a new thing by Guyrie Boorelli or some tasty French trifles, I don’t mind looking through your stock”’ 1900 (ill. Rolfe, 79); THEARCHAEOLOGY OF THE DROUGHT (Aborigine breaks drought after 750 years by smashing enemy’s totem then the parsons take the credit) 4 February 1903, 16; An Election Address [man in evening dress]. '“Fellow Workers” – (great applause)’, pen and ink original Art Gallery of New South Wales, presented by Howard Hinton 1916 (Mr D.Mc.L. Munro was paid for suggesting the gag 5/4/1905).
In 1913 a Bookfellow critic (presumably A.G. Stephens) slated Vincent: 'His promise of considerable accomplishment was lost in a little success; while still a young man he was slain by a salary’. Hence he had never found time for the serious study of nature and his talent 'crystallised into small, smart, smooth superficiality’. The critic backed up his view with select quotes from Hugh McCrae published in the Sydney Newsletter on 12 August 1905 re Vincent’s derivative view of life and lack of humour, then compared him unfavourably with his inspiration and idol, Phil May. 'But, hard as it is, Mr. Vincent’s pen line is nevertheless definite and vigorous.’ He should have gone to Europe fifteen years ago, he concluded. Evidently Vincent was in Europe by then anyway since his article 'A Stroll around London’ was published in Lone Hand 12 (December 1912), 103-10. He also drew some astonishingly late anti-suffrage cartoons, which makes sense if they were done in London, e.g. an anti-suffrage cartoon signed Aλфх (Alfs in Greek alphabet), published Bulletin 10 July 1913, 12, in the form of a penny stamp containing 2 English old maid-suffragettes, one holding a bomb and the other a sign 'Votes for Wimmin [sic]’ seems likely to be Alf’s (or could it be 'Alec’, i.e. Sass?).
Cartoons such as a pro-conscription image of 1915 were evidently done back in Australia (ill. Coleman & Tanner, 125). Taylor illustrates other 1915 images, including Sockitis 16 September 1915, 24. 'His cartoon of 13 May 1915, p.12, just after Gallipoli, shows a young Australian soldier appearing round a doorway saying “Well, Dad” to the portly figure of John Bull. Hop’s The Little Boy at Manly is framed on the wall’, comments Rolfe (p.268), who claims it was the first digger image to appear in the Bulletin: 'Instantly one stereotype was replaced with another’ (though the digger image was chiefly established posthumously in Smith’s Weekly , begun 1919: Joan Kerr).
Vincent was the first visual artist to join the Melbourne Savage Club and he remained an active member from February 1900 until his death. He designed the Club’s crest in 1902 and drew numerous cartoons for its entertainments (see Johnson p.75). He also donated a large collection of his work to the club’s rooms in Bank Place (many ill. Dow). National Library of Australia [NLA] has neg. (405/1) of cartoon for Melbourne Savage Club Smoke Concert 1899 re 'Little George (who has chopped down his father’s favourite missionary): “Father, I cannot tell a lie – I did it with my little hatchet!”’ (N.B. annotated 'In Library Collection’ – original whereabouts unknown). NLA may hold an original cartoon done for the Melbourne Savage Club smoke concert to welcome officers of the US Navy in 1908. In 1918 the Melbourne Savage Club lent original programs to the Art Gallery of New South Wales loan exhibition.
Vincent also painted serious portraits. Portrait of a Lady 1899, oil on canvas with artist’s name on frame plaque and verso, included in Sotheby’s Fine Australian Paintings , Melbourne 28-29 April 1997, cat. 442.
Vincent committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor at his home at Manly, Sydney on the evening of 6 December 1915, after a nervous collapse. The Argus report of his death, which was lukewarm about his art, appeared on 8 December 1915 (reproduced Johnson, 93). He was survived by his wife, Phyllis May, née Potter (d.1916), whom he had married in St James’s Old Cathedral, Melbourne on 5 April 1913, and their daughter.