- George du Maurier
George du Maurier Born March 6, 1834
Died October 8, 1896(aged 62)
Occupation cartoonist and author
George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (6 March 1834 – 8 October 1896) was a French-born British cartoonist and author, known for his cartoons in Punch and also for his novel Trilby. He was the father of actor Gerald du Maurier and grandfather of the writers Angela du Maurier and Dame Daphne du Maurier. He was also the father of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and thus grandfather of the five boys who inspired Peter Pan.
George du Maurier was the son of Louis-Mathurin Du Maurier and Ellen Clarke, the daughter of the infamous Regency courtesan Mary Anne Clarke. He studied art in Paris, and moved to Antwerp, Belgium, where he lost vision in his left eye. He consulted an oculist in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he met his future wife, Emma Wightwick. He followed her family to London, where he married Emma in 1863. They had five children: Beatrice (known as Trixy), Guy, Sylvia, Marie Louise (known as May) and Gerald.
He became a member of the staff of the satirical magazine Punch in 1865, drawing two cartoons a week. His most common targets were the affected manners of Victorian society. His most enduringly famous cartoon, True Humility, was the origin of the expressions "good in parts" and "a curate's egg". (In the caption, a bishop addresses a curate [a very humble class of clergyman] whom he has condescended to invite to breakfast: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr. Jones. The curate replies, "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you – parts of it are excellent!") In an earlier (1884) cartoon, du Maurier had coined the expression "bedside manner" by which he satirized actual medical skill. Another of du Maurier's notable cartoons was of a videophone conversation in 1879, using a device he called "Edison's telephonoscope".
Owing to his deteriorating eyesight, du Maurier reduced his involvement with Punch in 1891 and settled in Hampstead, where he wrote three novels. His first, Peter Ibbetson, was a modest success at the time and later adapted to stage and screen, most notably in the 1935 film starring Gary Cooper, and as an opera.
His second novel Trilby, was published in 1894. It fitted into the gothic horror genre which was undergoing a revival during the fin de siecle, and the book was hugely popular. The story of the poor artist's model Trilby O'Ferrall, transformed into a diva under the spell of the evil musical genius Svengali, created a sensation. Soap, songs, dances, toothpaste, and even a city in Florida were all named for the heroine, and the variety of soft felt hat with an indented crown that was worn in the London stage dramatization of the novel, is known to this day as a trilby. The plot inspired Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel Phantom of the Opera and the innumerable works derived from it. Although initially bemused by Trilby's success, du Maurier eventually came to despise the persistent attention given to his novel.
The third novel was a long, largely autobiographical work entitled The Martian, which was only published posthumously.
Personal life and death
- Peter Ibbetson – 1891, adapted in 1935 by Henry Hathaway, in a film starring Gary Cooper
- Trilby – 1894
- The Martian – 1897
- Social Pictorial Satire- 1898 (Harper's New Monthly Magazine)
- Richard Kelly. George du Maurier. Twayne, 1983.
- Richard Kelly. The Art of George du Maurier. Scolar Press, 1996.
- Leonée Ormond. George du Maurier. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1969.
- "Du Maurier", a poem by Florence Earle Coates first published in 1898.
- George du Maurier at The Victorian Web
- George du Maurier at Lambiek.net
- George du Maurier, the Satirist of the Victorians by T. Martin Wood. Full text of the 1913 book from Project Gutenberg
- Works by George du Maurier at Project Gutenberg (plain text and HTML)
- Works by George du Maurier at Internet Archive (scanned books original editions color illustrated)
- Gallery of du Maurier cartoons at Punchcartoons.com
- George du Maurier cartoons at CartoonStock (Commercial site)
- Telephonoscope, a cartoon of a television/videophone in 1879
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