Æesthetic Love in a Cottage

Æesthetic Love in a Cottage. George du Maurier Punch 80 (19 Febuary 1881): 78. Click on image to enlarge it.

Miss Bilderbogie. Yes, dearest Joconda! I am going to marry young Peter Pilcox! We shall be very, very poor! Indeed how we are going to live, I cannot tell! ”

Mrs. Cimabue Brown. “Oh, My beautiful Mariana, how noble of you both! Never mind how, but where are you going to live”

Miss Bilderbogie. “Oh, in dear old Kensington, I suppose— Everything is so cheap there, you know! Peacock Feathers only a Penny a-piece!

The phrase “Love in a Cottage,” which refers to a marriage of people with insufficient means to maintain their accustomed standard of living, probably originated in Daniel Deniehy’s 1847 poem with that title, and here refers to Miss Bilderbogie’s absurdly unrealistic idea of deprivation. The idea that two supposedly impoverished people will in “dear old Kensington,” already a very expensive neighborhood, is matched by her mention of “Peacock Feathers,” an emblem along with sunflowers of the Æesthetes, as a necessity of life. The light, very unVictorian furniture, Miss Bilderbogie’s fan, and her hair all identify the speakers as Æesthetes, as does the appearance of one of the Cimabue Browns, du Maurier’s invented family of pretentious, unrealistic people. Miss Bilderbogie looks very much like a caricature of Jane Morris, William Morris’s wife and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s lover.

Life with the Aesthetes

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. Hathi Trust Digital Library online version of a copy in the Harvard University Library. Web. 4 May 2020.

Last modified 3 May 2020