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George du Maurier

From Academic Kids

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Self portrait of George du Maurier

George du Maurier (March 6, 1834 - October 8, 1896) was a British author and who was born George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier 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 Punch in 1865, drawing two cartoons a week for the magazine. His most famous cartoon, "True Humility", was the origin of the phrases "good in parts", and "a Curate's egg". In 1891, because of increasing blindness, he retired from Punch, and the family settled in Hampstead, where he wrote three novels (the last was published posthumously).

His second novel, Trilby, the story of Trilby O'Ferrall, an artist's model, who is transformed into a successful singer 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.

George du Maurier was the father of Gerald du Maurier and so grandfather of the prominent writer Daphne du Maurier, and also grandfather of the Llewelyn-Davies boys who inspired Peter Pan.

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

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A Legend of Camelot
Illustration by du Maurier for Punch magazine, March 17, 1866

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