Perils of Aesthetic Culture

Perils of Aesthetic Culture. From English Society. Sketched by George du Maurier. Click on image to enlarge it.

Uncle John (suddenly bursting on newly-wedded pair). “Hullo, my Turtle-Doves! what’s the row! Not Quarrelled yet, I trust?”

Edwin.— “Oh dear no. We’ve been going in for High Art, that’s all.”

Angelina.— “And Drawing from Casts of the Antique”

Edwin.— “And Andy’s Nose turns up so at the end, and she’s got suen a skimpy Waist, and such a big Head, and such tiny little hands and feet! Hang it all, I thought her perfection!”

Angelina.— “Yes, Uncle John; and Edwin’s got a long Upper Lip, and a runaway Chin, and he c-c-can’t grow a Beard and Moustache! Oh dear! Oh dear!” [With difficulty restrains her sobs.]

Edwin has obviously compared the proportions of his young bride to those of the Venus de Milo, a small reproduction of which sits next to his easel, while Angelina similarly works from a reproduction of a classical work of art, probably a plaster head of Zeus or Neptune. du Maurier creates comedy from a clash of real and ideal, but part of the humor here comes from the fact that Angelina is in fact closer to the Victorian idea of beauty than the classical model.

Life with the Aesthetes

Image capture and text by George P. Landow [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


English Society. Sketched by George du Maurier. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897.

Created 1 July 2001

Last modified 3 May 2020