George du Maurier
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George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (6 March 1834 – 8 October 1896) was a Franco-British cartoonist and writer, known for his drawings in Punch and for his Gothic novel Trilby. He was the father of actor Sir Gerald du Maurier and grandfather of writers Angela du Maurier and Dame Daphne du Maurier. He was also the father of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and grandfather of the five boys who inspired J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.
George du Maurier
|Born||George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier|
6 March 1834
|Died||8 October 1896 (aged 62)|
Hampstead, London, England
|Occupation||Cartoonist, illustrator, novelist|
George du Maurier was born in Paris, the son of Louis-Mathurin Busson du Maurier and Ellen Clarke, daughter of Regency courtesan Mary Anne Clarke. He was brought up to believe that his aristocratic grandparents fled France during the Revolution, leaving vast estates behind in France, to live in England as émigrés. However, du Maurier's grandfather, Robert-Mathurin Busson, was actually a tradesman who left Paris in 1789 to avoid fraud charges, and later changed the family name to du Maurier.
Du Maurier 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. Reportedly he studied chemistry at University College, London in 1851. He is recorded in the 1861 England Census as living as a lodger at 85 Newman St in Marylebone. On 3 January 1863, he married Emma at St Marylebone, Westminster. Moving frequently over the course of their marriage, the couple first settled in Hampstead around 1877, initially at 27 Church Row and later at New Grove House in 1881. In 1891, the family is recorded as residing at 2 Porchester Rd in Paddington. They had five children: Beatrix (known as Trixy), Guy, Sylvia, Marie Louise (known as May) and Gerald.
He became a member of the staff of the British satirical magazine Punch in 1865, drawing two cartoons a week. His most common targets were the affected manners of Victorian society, the bourgeoisie and members of Britain's growing middle class in particular. His most enduring cartoon, True Humility, was long believed to be the origin of the expressions "good in parts" and "a curate's egg". (In the caption, a bishop addresses a curate [a 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!"). However, it is now known that this cartoon had been copied from a very similar one published a few months earlier in the magazine Judy, a competitor to Punch. 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."
In addition to producing black-and-white drawings for Punch, du Maurier created illustrations for several other popular periodicals: Harper's, The Graphic, The Illustrated Times, The Cornhill Magazine, and the religious periodical Good Words. Furthermore, he did illustrations for the serialization of Charles Warren Adams's The Notting Hill Mystery, which is thought to be the first detective story of novel length to have appeared in English. Among several other novels he illustrated was Misunderstood by Florence Montgomery in 1873.
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 (1891), was a modest success at the time and later adapted to stage and screen, most notably in a film, 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 siècle, 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 the city of Trilby 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. Du Maurier eventually came to dislike the persistent attention given to his novel.
The third novel was a long, largely autobiographical work entitled The Martian, published posthumously in 1898.
Death and LegacyEdit
He died on 8 October 1898 and was buried in St John-at-Hampstead churchyard in Hampstead parish in London. Due to the success of his writings and illustrations, du Maurier left the then staggering amount of £47,555 in his will.
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- Ivy Roberts (2017) ‘Edison’s Telephonoscope’: the visual telephone and the satire of electric light mania, Early Popular Visual Culture, 15:1, 1-25, DOI: 10.1080/17460654.2016.1232656
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George du Maurier
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- Works by George du Maurier at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about George du Maurier at Internet Archive
- Works by or about George du Maurier at HathiTrust
- Works by or about George du Maurier at GoogleBooks
- Works by George du Maurier at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- A gallery of George du Maurier works for Punch magazine
- George du Maurier at The Victorian Web
- George du Maurier at Lambiek.net
- Works by George Du Maurier (illustrator) at Faded Page (Canada)
- George du Maurier's cartoon Love-Agony satirizing the Aesthetic Movement and Oscar Wilde.
- George du Maurier cartoons at CartoonStock (Commercial site)
- Telephonoscope, a cartoon of a television/videophone in 1879
- "Archival material relating to George du Maurier". UK National Archives.
- Portraits of George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Blue Plaque at 91, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London
- George du Maurier at University of Exeter Special Collections
- George du Maurier at Library of Congress Authorities, with 77 catalogue records