The Inking Woman: 250 Years of Women Cartoon and Comic Artists in Britain
Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate
IF THERE'S a volume missing from the annals of British humour, it certainly is the new book The Inking Woman. About time too, given that it’s been nine decades since women over the age of 21 won the right to vote.
Its inspiration came from its authors Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate who organised an exhibition with the same title at the Cartoon Museum in London in 2016. The realisation that a celebratory anthology marking 250 years of women's cartooning should be put together was a natural progression.
This compilation of single-panel gags and traditional strips are bundled together to provide a full appreciation of the abundance and variety of styles. Here is work from the daring Mary Darly of the 18th century and the pioneering Victorian Marie Duval through to Suffragettes Mary Lowndes, Louisa Thomson-Price and Dora Meeson Coates.
And contemporary cartoonists such as Riana Duncan, Kathryn Lamb, Christine Roche, Paula Youens, Cath Jackson, Angela Martin, Grizelda and Lee Kennedy all get a look in.
The index, running to well over 300 names, disabuses the perception that women cartoonists are few and far between and around a third of them are included in the book. Space and time constraints mean that some are absent because they were uncomfortable with gender-defined criteria or the selection process itself.
The few newspaper editorial cartoons are by the Guardian’s Nicola Jennings, Bluelou — known to Morning Star readers and presently of Tribune — and Martha Richler of the Jewish Chronicle. Regrettably, the field is still dominated almost exclusively by white middle-aged men and that's something that has to change in the future.
As Toni Morrison has pointed out: “All good art is political, there is none that isn’t,” and so, ultimately, are the works in Inking Woman — wide ranging and whimsical satires on social and human vagaries and everyday idiocies.
The encyclopedic format has the benefit of each new page offering the unexpected and Marcia’s Mihotich’s delightful design has clarity and elegance.
It's an instructive and hugely entertaining work — hats off to Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate.
The Inking Woman: 250 Years of Women Cartoon and Comic Artists in Britain by Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate is published by Myriad Editions, price £19.99.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.