George Du Maurier

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George Du Maurier

by Sir Leslie Ward
Watercolour with traces of pencil, 1895-1896
12 3/4 in. x 7 3/4 in. (324 mm x 197 mm)
NPG 2711

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Inscriptionback to top

Signed in pencil below: ‘Spy’.

This portraitback to top

Sir Leslie Ward wrote in his memoirs, Forty Years of Spy, ‘du Maurier […] was not only a great artist but a man of singularly sweet and generous disposition’.[1] Like many others, Ward was under the spell of the famous charm.

For this Vanity Fair cartoon Ward produced a limpid portrait washed in greys and browns, showing Du Maurier as a dapper elderly gentleman absorbed in his work, with no hint of satire. It was published as a chromolithograph in Vanity Fair on 23 January 1896, as ‘Men of the Day no.641’, and captioned ‘Trilby’ in tribute to the great success of Du Maurier’s novel published in 1894.

The adjustable table also appears in a photograph by Fradelle & Young of Du Maurier at New Grove House wearing very similar clothes (see ‘All known portraits, Photographs, 1890s’). However, Ward’s drawing was made from sittings, not a photograph, as he recalled: ‘The sketch of George du Maurier I made for him while he was busily engaged at his drawing-table illustrating Trilby.’ [2] Nine months later his sitter was dead.

See NPG collection 2566–2606, 2698–2746, 2964–3012, 3265–3300, 4605–4611, 4627–4636, 4707(1–30), 4711–4758

Carol Blackett-Ord

Footnotesback to top

1) Ward 1915, p.291.
2) Ward 1915, p. 290.

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length, seated at drawing table, head to left, legs crossed, left hand in trouser pocket.

Conservationback to top

Conserved, 1986.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased from Maggs Bros, Mar. 1934.

Reproductionsback to top

Copies of the print after NPG 2711
Chromolithograph by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son, Vanity Fair, 23 January 1896; copies colls NPG Archive; Getty Images 3296233, 3062563 and 50700566; and MEPL, London, 10072058.

View all known portraits for George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier

View all known portraits for Sir Leslie Ward