Carlo Pellegrini, born in Capua, in Italy, was descended from an aristocratic family. He was just five feet two inches, with a large head and small feet. He became a popular figure of Neapolitan society, producing humorous caricatures of friends, despite apparently having no artistic training. In 1860 he joined the forces of Garibaldi and fought against the Bourbons. He then left Italy, arriving in London in 1864, where he joined the Prince of Wales’ set. His first illustration for ‘Vanity Fair’ was commissioned by T. G. Bowles in 1868 and he continued to work for Bowles under the ‘nom de crayon’ Ape. Influenced by Whistler, he unsuccessfully attempted to paint portraits. He produced 332 ‘Vanity Fair’ caricatures before his death, aged 49.
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