chapter  12
15 Pages

‘My Pretty Woman’: The Presentation of Women in George Du Maurier’s Cartoons and Novels

ByLeonée Ormond

This chapter explores George Du Maurier's approaches to the representation of the role and appearance of women, beginning with his early illustrations for fiction and poetry. Du Maurier was always sensitive to the appearance of women. In his lecture Social Pictorial Satire, he recalled the affection of Dickens's Sam Weller for 'pootiness and wirtue' when describing his own feeling for the beautiful. Among his most sympathetic drawings are those representing the relationship between mothers and daughters, in a society where young women were expected to 'come out' before appearing at social events. One of the first, 'A Pathetic Appeal', is set on Hampstead Heath, near the artist's home. Du Maurier was working as a cartoonist at a time when the roles of men and women were the subject of keen debate. Du Maurier characteristically uses captions to express the meaning of his cartoons.