The Inking Woman – British Women Cartoon and Comic Artists





by Renate Haas

Many people regard cartoon and comic arts as a male preserve. London‘s Cartoon Museum (35 Little Russell Street) now furnishes ample evidence that this is just not true. Its exhibition “The Inking Woman – British Women Cartoon and Comic Artists”, the largest of its kind to date, covers the development of the last 250 years and showcases about one hundred artists. The formats range from 18th century prints to digital comics and graphic novels.

One of the most influential early figures in the field is Mary Darly. She worked as a print seller, artist, engraver, writer and teacher, and cartoon expert Mark Bryant has even called her “the mother of pictorial satire”. About 1762, she published A Book of Caricaturas, with ye Principles of Designing in that Droll & pleasing manner; according to Bryant, the first ever manual on how to draw caricatures (History today 57:4, 2007, 58). The book aimed at both gentlemen and ladies, and it is worthwhile remembering that by the turn of the century the figure of the female caricaturist was familiar enough to appear in Maria Edgeworth’s novel Belinda.

A prominent example from the 19th century is Marie Duval, who contributed over 900 cartoons to the magazine Judy. The Suffragette and early twentieth century postcard artists are represented by The Suffrage Atelier and Mabel Lucie Attwell; cartoonists working for mainstream publications such as Punch and Private Eye by Anton, Sally Artz and Riana Duncan. Some more exponents for further genres: political and joke cartoonists – Viv Quillin; strip cartoonists and caricaturists – Cath Jackson; comic artists and graphic novelists – Posy Simmonds and Una.

Further Inking Women featured in the exhibition are:

Angela Bailey, Charlotte Bailey, Margaret Belsky, Marie Brackenbury, Lucy C. Byatt, Victoria Davidson, Jean de Lemos, Rosemary Dulak, Hannah Eaton, Annie Fish, C. Headley Charlton, Nicola Jennings, Lee Kennedy, Katie Kirby, Nicola Lane, Liz Mackie, Ernestine Mills, Jo Nesbitt, Corrine Pearlman, Phyllis M Purser, Agnes Richardson, Carolyn Risdale, Christine Roche, Karen Rubins, Lesley Ruda, Alison Sampson, Fiona Scott, Ginny Skinner, Erica Smith, Jackie Smith, Snowy Lake, Carol Swain, Mary Tourtel, Fanny Tribble, Suzy Varty, Flora White, and Bev Williams.

The exhibition will run until 23 July. Unfortunately, no catalogue has been published. But as most contemporary artists have a homepage, it is easy to get an idea of their work and I’ve added the links. Have fun and check for yourself the Cartoon Museum’s claim that women have always had a wicked sense of humour and a perceptive view of the world.

Carol Adlam,

Asia Alfasi,

Ros Asquith,

Rachael Ball,

Henny Beaumont,

Hannah Berry,

Jess Bradley,

Kate Charlesworth,

Gemma Corell,

Caroline della Porta,

Wallis Eates,

Kate Evans,

Jacky Fleming, winner of the Prix Artémisia Humour 2017

Karrie Fransman,

Janis Goodman,

Katie Green,

Isabel Greenberg,

Sophie Grillet,


Ottilie Hainsworth,

Merrily Harpur,

Gill Hatcher,

Rozi Hathaway,

Rachael House,

Laura Howell,

Paula Knight,

Kathryn Lamb,

Annie Lawson,

Simone Lia,

Sarah Lightman,

Maggie Ling,

Sue McCartney-Snape,

The Surreal McCoy,

Cinders McLeod,

Angela Martin,

Jessica Martin,

Sofia Niazi,

Danny Noble,

Edie Op,

Elizabeth Querstret,

Teresa Robertson,

Zara Slattery,

Nicola Streeten,

Annie Tempest,

Matilda Tristram,

Myf Tristram,

Emma Vieceli,

Judith Walker,

Paula Youens,

(posted 17 July 2017)