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Faustin (Jean-Faustin Betbeder) (1847-1914)


Jean-Faustin Betbeder (1847-1914), known as 'Faustin'

The caricaturist and illustrator, Faustin, brought a degree of French élan to British periodicals of the late nineteenth century.

Jean-Faustin Betbeder was born in Soissons, in Picardy, in Northern France, on 24 June 1847. At the time of the Franco-Prussian War, in 1870, he was studying in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. His caricature of Napoleon III, entitled L’habit ne fait pas le moins (the cloth doesn’t make the monk), brought him overnight success and a fee of 12,000 francs. This was followed by a series of amusing and popular engravings produced by his swift and vigorous hand.

Faustin went to London to collaborate with James Mortimer on his periodical,
Figaro, and also contributed to the same editor’s The London Sketch-Book. He stayed in England, marrying and setting up a colour lithograph establishment. In addition to his work as a graphic artist, which made him comparable in stature to Jules Cheret, he produced charming pastels and designed many costumes for productions at London theatres, including the Alhambra and the Lyceum.

Living latterly at 19 Hayes Court, Camberwell, and working at the Offley Studios, Brixton, Faustin died on 28 December 1914.


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