Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Plaque of the Week No.37

“Something of a curate’s egg…”

Commemorating: George Du Maurier
Street: East End Road
Postcode: NW3
Borough: Camden

Writer of Trilby, the lurid tale set among Bohemian types on the Left Bank in fin de siècle Paris, Punch illustrator George Du Maurier is commemorated twice in Hampstead: at the churchyard of St John-at-Hampstead where he is buried and on a plaque at the Du Maurier family home (illustrated). It is said that he grew to despise the attention given to Trilby above his other works. No such negative reaction is recorded regarding his famous Punch cartoon in which the curate is breakfasting with the bishop. “I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr. Jones,” offers the senior clergyman. The curate, keen to avoid giving offence replies, “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you – parts of it are excellent!” The phrase “a curate’s egg” was born. In the same organ he is also credited with coining the phrase “bedside manner”.

Keep an eye out for his plaque on the Hampstead Walk every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

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