A Gentle Egotist

A Gentle Egotist. George du Maurier Punch 71 (23 December 1876): 272. Signed lower right. Click on image to enlarge it.

The only Son (in the bosom of his Family)— “‘Punch’! ‘Graphic’! ‘Illustrated London News’!!! What ridiculous Waste of money to buy these, when I can see them any day I'm at the Club for Nothing!”

du Maurier’s cartoon simultaneously portrays the obtuse selfishness a husband raised as an only child, the popular popular periodicals of the day (of course he includes Punch), and the resources of men's clubs, where upper-middle-class men spent a good part of their days away from their families. The cartoon makes its point by depicting the wife, four daughters, and a widowed mother about whose needs the husband remains completely unaware. Whether or not du Maurier only intended a little comment about only children in an age of large families, he has created a powerful picture of the status of wives and daughters.

du Maurier always delights in including detailed representations of clothing and furnishings fashionable at the time he drew his cartoons. Here on the mantel, sideboard or shelf behind the family he has included ceramics like those produced by Christopher Dresser and other Arts and Crafts designers.

du Maurier Cartoons on Related Subjects

Scanned image 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.]


Punch, or the London Charivari. Hathi Trust Digital Library online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 4 May 2020.1897.

Last modified 3 May 2020