Winter Lecture 2021


Happy New Year Victorianists!

The VSAO is delighted to announce our upcoming Winter Lecture 2021, to be held via Zoom, Friday 29 January 2021, at 1 PM Ontario time.

Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist

Dr Simon Grennan

Professor Roger Sabin

Dr Julian Waite

This lecture and discussion introduces the work of Marie Duval (Isabella Tessier, UK, 1847–90), one of the most unusual, pioneering and visionary cartoonists of the nineteenth century.

Duval’s cartoons, strips and illustrations revolutionised print comedy. Her London characters became a mainstay of Judy magazine, a rival to Punch, and introduced its middle-class readers to a lower-class milieu – domestic servants who get the better of their masters, street urchins who terrorise the elderly, clowns who are miserably unfunny. The most famous character was Ally Sloper, a boozy ne-er do well, always in trouble with the police, the landlord, and his wife – developed by Duval into nothing less than a national hero.

Simon, Roger and Julian will discuss key themes of Duval’s vision and production, relative to wider historic, social, cultural and economic environments. They identify her as an exemplary radical practitioner, especially significant for importing ideas from the stage to the page, and for confounding gender expectations. She emerges as a key figure in the new congruence between performance, illustration, narrative drawing and novels.

The lecture also outlines a journey of rediscovery, progressing from an unprecedented range of primary sources and bringing together the fields of Comics Studies, Theatre Studies, Comedy Studies, Periodical Studies and Women’s Studies. It aims to restore the maverick Duval to her rightful place in history.

The Marie Duval Archive, a free image archive of Duval’s known work, has also been created by Simon, Roger and Julian, at

Simon Grennan is Leading Research Fellow at the University of Chester

Roger Sabin is Professor of Popular Culture at the University of the Arts London

Julian Waite is an independent scholar and former Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts and Programme Leader MA Drama at the University of Chester


1. Marie Duval ‘Frontispiece’ from Judy, or The London Serio-comic Journal Volume 18, 1875

2. Marie Duval ‘Dramatic Criticism 1883’ from Judy, or The London Serio-comic Journal Volume 32, page 27, 1883

For information on how to join the meeting, contact Jo Devereux: