About Marie Duval
Isabelle Émilie de Tessier (London, 1847 – 1890) was an actress, cartoonist and illustrator who worked under the pseudonyms ‘Marie Duval’, ‘Noir’, ‘S.A. The Princess Hesse Schwartzbourg’, and ‘Ambrose Clarke’.
Her work first appeared in a variety of the cheap British penny papers and comics of the 1860s – 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’, resulting in dozens of strips that were collected into books. Under her influence, Sloper was to become the comedy icon of his age.