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ANOTHER DIVERSITY WAR: PART 4

Another Woman in Comics' Ancient History

Before we abandon this expedition into early women cartoonists, let me mention Marly Darly, who, with her husband Matthew, played a prominent role in the birth of caricature in England. They operated a couple print shops in London, dominating the market in the 1750s and 1760s, printing and selling single sheet prints, images both serious and comic. According to Mike Rendell (.com), “Mary developed the idea of producing small engravings with satirical sketches on them — the size of a playing card — which would be sent through the mail. They became collectors’ items and from 1756 were then bound up and published as an annual review under the title of A Political and Satyrical History of the Year. Mary describes the political sketches as ‘caricatures’ — the first time the description had been applied in this way.”

Rendell continues: “Mary also taught drawing and caricture-making to ‘suitable’ Ladies and Gentlemen, and in 1762, published the first guide book to the subject under the title of A Book of Caricaturas on 59 Copper Plates with ye Principles of Designing in the Droll & Pleasing Manner. It contained just three pages of instruction, but also set out numerous examples of her technique.”

In the late 1770s, James Gillray worked with the Darlys, but it was later that his association with the print shop of Hannah Humphrey in the 1790s and early 1800s that Gillray achieved lasting fame.

Examples of Marly Darly’s work can be found under her name on the Web; they are not clear enough images that I felt I could use here. But I was intrigued by the name Florence Cestac in connection with Angouleme. I know nothing of it and had never heard of her, so I plied the Web and discovered a few of her efforts, which I’ve scanned here.

 

Cestac

Her work has an engaging slap-dash quality, exuberant and appealing.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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