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Ape (Carlo Pellegrini) (1839-1889)


Alongside his colleague Leslie Ward (who took the pen name ‘Spy’), Carlo Pellegrini defined the look of the Victorian society journal, Vanity Fair. Inspired by the work of Melchiorre Delifco and Honoré Daumier, his caricatures, produced under the pen name ‘Ape’, had an enduring effect on Victorian high society as a whole. So did Pellegrini himself, as the eccentric Neapolitan caricaturist became known as one of London society’s most well-known and well-loved figures.

Carlo Pellegrini was in Capua, Campania, Italy, on 25 March 1839, a descendent of the Sedili Capuani, an aristocratic landowning family. He was educated at the Collegio Barnabiti, then at the Sant’ Antonio in Maddaloni, near Caserta. By the age of 20, he had already established himself as a highly popular figure in Neapolitan high society.

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