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George Du Maurier (1834-1896)

George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896)

Equally talented as artist and writer, George Du Maurier developed a cartoon format for Punch that balanced text and image in order to record and satirise the fashions and foibles of society.

The eldest of the three children of the scientist and inventor, Louis-Mathurin Du Maurier, and his wife, Ellen (née Clarke), George Du Maurier was born on 6 March 1834 in the Champs-Elysées, Paris, and baptised in May 1835 at Rotherfield, Sussex. He spent his childhood, between England and the Continent, in an atmosphere of precarious gentility. His father came from a French family of master glassblowers but, obsessed with social status, gave himself the aristocratic name of Du Maurier. As a novelist, George Du Maurier would rehearse the events of his early life in general but, as a cartoonist for Punch, he would concentrate on dissecting the pretensions and foibles of the society in which he lived, and to which his family had been prey.

Though Du Maurier failed his baccalauréat, his father was determined that he should take up a steady profession. So, in 1851, he enrolled at the Birkbeck Chemical Laboratory, University College, London.

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