Self portrait of George du Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (6 March 1834 – 8 October 1896) was a British author who was born in Paris, France.
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.
He became a member of the staff of the satirical magazine Punch in 1865, drawing two cartoons a week. His most famous cartoon, "True Humility", was the origin of the phrases "good in parts", and "a Curate's egg".
Owing to his deteriorating eyesight, du Maurier retired from Punch in 1891 and settled in Hampstead, where he wrote three novels (the last was published posthumously).
His second novel, Trilby, 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 a town in America were all named for the heroine, and a variety of soft felt hat with an indented crown (worn in the London stage production of a dramatization of the novel) is still sometimes referred to as a trilby. The plot inspired Gaston Leroux's 1910 potboiler 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.
George du Maurier was the father of Gerald du Maurier and grandfather of the prominent writer Daphne du Maurier. He was also the father of Sylvia Llewelyn-Davies and thus grandfather of the Llewelyn-Davies boys who inspired Peter Pan.
He was interred in Saint John's Churchyard in Hampstead parish in London.
A Legend of Camelot
Illustration by du Maurier for Punch magazine, 17 March 1866.
- Peter Ibbetson - 1891
- Trilby - 1894
- The Martian - 1897
- Richard Kelly. George du Maurier. Twayne, 1983.
- Richard Kelly. The Art of George du Maurier. Scolar Press, 1996.
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