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George du Maurier

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Category: Literature
Reference No: 8223
Status: Available
Price: £20.00
  George 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 after 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 an interesting but mysterious letter, handwritten and signed in ink on a small sheet of headed notepaper (New Grove House, June 25, no year) To "Dear Squire" it reads (in full):

"What do you mean by 'doubly famous'? Susanna Caught tells me you did me the honour to suspect me of having written the parody on Victor Hugo - would that I had, alas! but you are doing a great injustice to Frank Burnand*
Yours sincerely
George du Maurier.

Trimmed and with one correspondence fold. In good condition.

* F.C.Burnand  (1836-1917), English comic writer and playwright.