Samuel PepysWelcome to The Ephemera Society Website


The Ephemera Society News

The Ephemerist Winter 2014

Image of Winter issue of the society's journal
The Winter issue of the society's journal is scheduled to be posted to members during January 2015 and contains the following articles:

  • Adrian Seville
    Building a ‘representative’ collection of printed ephemera
  • John & Heather Raybould
    In praise of Christmas plum pudding
  • Amoret Tanner
    World War One humour
  • Plus regular favourites Mrs Pepys' Diary and Notes & Queries


Early French Bookmarks

Image of bookThis new book, published October 2014 and written in English, illustrates old French bookmarks dating from 1800s up to 1969 with background information and dates where known.

All bookmark images are printed in full colour with size scaling indications. The book comes with it's own bookmark (seen on the left).

Published by Maner Consulting, Switzerland
21 x 14.8 cm | 132 pages | 243 colour images
More details:


Marie Duval: The woman behind Ally Sloper

Cover of Judy Magazine

She was a jobbing actress, with absolutely no art training, who developed arguably one of the UK’s first comic strip ‘superstars’, yet very little is known about Marie Duval, the 19th-century melodrama performer who drew more than 500 pages of London life, featuring the hugely popular character Ally Sloper, becoming Britain’s first serialised comic strip, in the magazine Judy, a Victorian rival to Punch.

Thanks to an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant of almost £200,000, a new project led by the University of Chester will shed light on this enigmatic artist.

Project lead, Dr Simon Grennan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Chester’s Art and Design Department, explained:

“The production of 19th-century English comics in humour periodicals was an exclusively male activity, with the one exception of Marie Duval.

She was so completely untrained and critics would deride her for this, but the speed and vigour of her drawings became a great comedic device, communicating the exciting, disposable and even daring character of Sloper’s world of physical comedy, and the general public absolutely loved this new style of delivery. In fact, many of the devices that she used to tell Sloper’s stories are now completely commonplace in comic strips and graphic novels.

As well as this, Duval acted in popular melodrama plays, famously subverting gender expectations in the role of the leading man and her narrative drawing was hugely influenced by this. Given how much she developed the art form and how influential her work was on what came afterwards, it’s hard to believe there have been few attempts to study or present her activity as a draughtswoman and female actor in the male environment of periodical publishing.”

Working with Dr Grennan on the project will be the Performing Arts Lecturer Dr Julian Waite, and English Lecturer Professor Deborah Wynne, from the University of Chester, and Professor Roger Sabin, an expert on subcultures, comics and graphic novels, from The University of the Arts London Central Saint Martins.

The two-year research project will culminate in the creation of an online image catalogue of Duval’s work, and a touring exhibition which will visit a major gallery in London, Illustrative Berlin and the Festival de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême as well as venues across Britain. There will also be an academic publication and journal articles during the project.

Read more in Jonathan Jones On Art Blog:


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle portrait to make public debut
at the Museum of London

Until 12 April 2015

The world of the greatest fictional detective of all time will be illuminated at the Museum of London this autumn, in the Sherlock Holmes exhibition. It will be the largest of its kind for over 60 years, drawing on the museum’s fabulous Victorian and Edwardian collection and bringing together Sherlock Holmes material from across the globe, including several key world class loans. The rarities will be on show in the city that inspired the stories and is - in all its fogs, populous streets, criminal underworld and celebrated landmarks – like another character in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s prolific canon.

Cover of The Strand Magazine Visitors will re-trace the literary beginnings of Sherlock Holmes, from original manuscripts to the first copies of The Strand Magazine in 1891, examining how the consulting detective has evolved from Conan Doyle’s early concepts.

Original drawings by Sidney Paget, who illustrated the stories in The Strand Magazine, will appear alongside a unique oil on canvas painting by the same artist, which is being displayed to the UK public for the first time. The painting, which is kindly on loan from the Conan Doyle Foundation and is currently undergoing conservation in Switzerland, conveys a compelling psychological portrait of the author at the height of his literary fame in 1897. Painted by his friend and illustrator, we are able to see close up the man who created Sherlock Holmes.

Paintings, drawings, illustrations and photographs will examine how Victorian London and the cultural climate of the day informed Conan Doyle’s stories and characters, interpreting renowned artists and photographers through the prism of Sherlock Holmes and identifying key locations. The stories and images reinforce each other to create the seminal views of Holmes’s London embedded in our cultural memory.


Quote from Maurice Rickards
Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life