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Drawing - Frustrated Social Ambition: Collapse of Postlethwaite, Maudle and Mrs Cimabue Brown
  • Frustrated Social Ambition: Collapse of Postlethwaite, Maudle and Mrs Cimabue Brown
    Du Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson, born 1834 - died 1896
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Frustrated Social Ambition: Collapse of Postlethwaite, Maudle and Mrs Cimabue Brown

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    London (drawn)

  • Date:

    1881 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Du Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson, born 1834 - died 1896 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and brown ink

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased, 2009

  • Museum number:

    E.146-2009

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case PD, shelf 61, box A

George Du Maurier has long been considered one of the finest of the talented draughtsmen working for the comic newspaper Punchin the late 19th century. An exact contemporary of William Morris and fellow-student with James McNeill Whistler in Paris, Du Maurier became the keenest critic of the Pre-Raphaelite / Aesthetic cult whilst remaining friends with many members of the circle.

At the height of public interest in the Aesthetic Movement, between the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery in London at the end of the 1870s and Oscar Wilde's lecture tour of 1882, Punchran a brilliant series of caricatures by Du Maurier satirising the manners and poses of the Aesthetes. He invented a cast of characters centred on Mrs Cimabue Brown, an ambitious hostess with 'artistic' tastes, Maudle, a rising painter, and the soulful poet Jellaby Postlethwaite, closely modelled on Wilde. Mrs Brown collects Aesthetes as others collect paintings and Du Maurier makes fun of both her social pretensions and her gullible enthusiasm for fashionable crazes such as that for lilies and oriental blue and white china.

This is the last drawing in the series. In the witty, almost 'post-modern' caption, Du Maurier finally dispatches his narcissistic trinity: 'Collapse of Postlethwaite, Maudle, and Mrs Cimabue Brown, on reading in a widely circulated contemporary journal that they only exist in Mr Punch's vivid imagination. They had fondly flattered themselves that universal fame was theirs at last'.

Physical description

Pen and brown ink drawing, made as an illustration for Punch, showing three standing figures in an interior. On the left is a woman wearing a long dress with large puffed sleeves. She stands in an attitude of sorrow, head bowed and hands clasped in front of her. On the right two men embrace sorrowfully. The man on the far right clutches a newspaper in his hand.

Place of Origin

London (drawn)

Date

1881 (drawn)

Artist/maker

Du Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson, born 1834 - died 1896 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and brown ink

Marks and inscriptions

'Frustrated social ambition. / Collapse of Postlethwaite, Maudle & Mrs Cimabue / Brown on reading in a contemporary journal that / they only exist in Mr Punch's vivid imagination. / They had fondly flattered themselves that universal fame was / theirs at last.'
Inscription on reverse

Dimensions

Height: 16 cm, Width: 13.5 cm, Height: 254 mm sheet, Width: 357 mm sheet

Object history note

J.S. Maas & Co., London, where bought by Sir David Scott, 12th December 1968; Purchased from Sotheby's (Scott sale) 19th November 2008, lot 143.

Descriptive line

Drawing, pen and ink, by George Du Maurier, 'Frustrated Social Ambition; collapse of Postlethwaite, Maudle and Mrs Cimabue Brown', London, 1881.

Materials

Pen

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Aesthetes; Lilies; Metafiction; Fiction; Style; Extravagance

Categories

Drawings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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