Charles Allen Du Val

His life and works

The Ruined Gamester Du Val Engraving

The Ruined Gamester was exhibited in 1837. The title of the original painting was "Boys playing at Marbles". Its current whereabouts is unknown.

One of the most successful of his early works, "The Ruined Gamester", was engraved and published by Thomas Dewhurst, a printseller in Market Street in Manchester (1).

An etching of this picture by Du Val himself appeared in the "North of England Magazine" a few years later. This was a periodical which lasted only from 1842 to 1843, to which he was a contributor (2). The etching accompanied a poem written by Charles Allen Du Val "in which the half-humorous idea of the original picture, “Boys playing at Marbles,” was expanded by the author into an elaborate moral, and the ruined gamester was exemplified in the ruined speculative merchant, the spendthrift racing squire, the Indian nabob, the battered warrior, and other characters" (3).

The etching which accompanies the poem was not an exact copy of the original painting, being the mirror image and not a particularly skillful picture. Charles Allen Du Val was not noted as an engraver.


(1) Unfortunately the success of the print of The Ruined Gamester did not extend to its engraver and publisher. Poor Thomas Dewhurst was declared bankrupt on 10 August 1838. Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History; 4 The British book trades, 1731-1806: a checklist of bankrupts by Ian Maxted.
(2) North of England Magazine volume 1 (1842) pages 297 to 299. Ignis fatuus is the "Will o' the Wisp", a transient wandering flame of burning methane above swamps, traditionally luring the unwary to follow it to disaster.
(3) Obituary of Charles Allen Du Val Manchester Times 22 June 1872.