Marie Duval at The Society of Illustrators, New York


The Society of Illustrators in New York will hold an exhibition revealing the fantastic drawings of Victorian cartoonist,  Marie Duval, featured by Myriad in the first ever book about her life and work, compiled and written by Simon Grennan , Roger Sabin and Julian Waite.

Duval drew under a number of male and female pseudonyms and her work appeared in a variety of cheap British penny papers, albums and books of the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s. An actress as well as a cartoonist, she lived and worked in a London environment of music halls and unlicensed theatres, sensational plays, serials, novels and comic journals. Her drawing style was theatrical, untutored and introduced many techniques that only became common in much later cartooning.

Between March 1869 and July 1885, Duval drew hundreds of comic strip pages and vignettes for the magazine Judy or the London serio-comic journal and spin-off compilations, focusing on the humour, attitudes, urbanity and poverty of the types of people she knew. Her masterstroke was the development of the character Ally Sloper, a ne’er do well London ‘everyman’. In her hands, Sloper was to become the comedy icon of his age.

Copies of Marie Duval will be on sale at the exhibition: it is a book for pleasure, celebrating Duval’s life and work. Not going to NYC? You can buy your copy HERE.

The exhibition and The Marie Duval Archive ( have been produced by the University of Chester and Central Saint Martins, in partnership with Guildhall Library and with the support of the British Library and the London Library, made possible by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK.

The exhibition, Laughter in the First Age of Leisure, will run from 7 Jan – 4 March 2020.