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George (and Gustave Doré) du Maurier

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Category: Literature
Reference No: 7710
Status: Available
Price: £30.00
  George (and Gustave Doré) du Maurier  George (and Gustave Doré) du Maurier

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Extraordinary 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 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 (son Gerald played Captain Hook when the play had its London premiere).

Du Maurier joined 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 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 lowly curate 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 in 1879 was of a videophone conversation, using a device he called "Edison's telephonoscope".

Du Maurier suffered from eye problems from his art student days and eventually he left Punch in 1891 and became a writer, producing three novels. His second, Trilby (1894) was a runaway success. 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, even sausages were all named for the heroine, and the variety of soft felt hat with an indented crown that was worn by Trilby in the London stage production of the novel, is known to this day as a trilby. The plot inspired Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel Phantom of the Opera

This is a fine letter on headed notepaper (6" x4"), handwritten and signed in black ink, in which du Maurier declines a lunch invitation ("this is Almanack Time and I simply cannot get away from work so early. Come up & have a chat before you leave if you can manage it and stop to sup here any Thursday")

The letter has been laid to a contemporary album page but is in very good condition.

To the reverse is an envelope front apparently in the hand of the French artist, Gustave Doré (1832-1883).