George du Maurier  

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George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (6 March, 18348 October, 1896) was a British author and cartoonist, and grandfather of the prominent writer Daphne du Maurier.

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 expressions "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, published in 1894 fits into the gothic horror genre which was undergoing a revival during the fin de siecle. 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 Florida 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) came to be called 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 a close friend of Henry James, the novelist. Their relationship was fictionalised in David Lodge's Author, Author.

George du Maurier was the father of actor 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 five boys who inspired Peter Pan.

He was interred in Saint John's Churchyard in Hampstead parish in London.


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