Creative Commons License
Victorians Institute Journal Annex content in NINES is protected by a Creative Commons License.
Peer Reviewed

A Draft List of Published book and periodical contributions by Robert Seymour

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Magazine illustration 1824-1836

[33] [pre - 1826] Pocket Magazine. Listed by Heseltine as containing work by Seymour, this reference is presumably to Arliss’s Pocket Magazine which was published for a while by Knight and Lacey, whose interest in the magazine terminated in 1826. [33i] 
[34] 1824-1836 Friendship’s Offering. Houfe lists Seymour as a contributor, but he is not listed in any of the studies of the album available. (Houfe 450). This is not to say he didn’t contribute.
[35] 1827? in Bell’s Life in London.

Primarily a weekly sporting magazine, Bell’s Life also published in the first ten years of its existence a massive number of vignette comic wood engravings on its large sized multi-columned pages, often organised into short series. Along with George Cruikshank, Leech and Meadows, Seymour was a major contributor of illustrations. This role meant that his work became known to an extremely wide readership – Bell’s Life had a circulation of 20,000 in the mid-1830s (DNCJ), and this was augmented by the reprinting of many of the comic illustrations in yearly gatherings, which also had considerable popularity. [35 i] Many of the illustrations to Bell’s Life from the late 1820s were reprinted by Charles Hindley late in the century along with various other comic work under the title used by Bell’s Life for a section of the paper first launched in 1827– ‘Gallery of Comicalities’. Although attribution is not always easy, Seymour certainly drew the twelve designs for ‘The Drunkard’s Progress’ (c. 1829) and nine for ‘The Pugilist’s Progress’, here reproduced from Hindley [55] [35 ii – x] Mason Jackson says the caricature subjects ran between 1827 and 1840.
[35 i] gallery
[35 i] The Gallery of Comicalities
See illustrations: [35 i] | [35 ii] | [35 iii] | [35 iv] | [35 v] | [35 vi] | [35 vii] | [35 viii] | [35 ix] | [35 x]  
[36] 1830-1836 The Looking Glass (Thomas McClean) Retitled McClean’s Monthly Sheet of Caricatures or the Looking Glass from issue 13 (January 1831), shifting to fewer larger images in the process. [36 i - vi]

This is a lithographed monthly magazine entirely comprising graphic images. William Heath, who had first tried to establish such magazines with the Glasgow Looking Glass and its successor the Northern Looking Glass in 1825 and 1826, illustrated the first seven monthly issues of The Looking Glass under the powerful imprint of Thomas McClean. Seymour took over from issue 8 (August 1st. 1830), and worked with the periodical until his death in April 1836. [36 i] -[36 ii] McClean may have turned to Seymour because, as Richard Pound has suggested, he felt at home with the lithographic medium which Heath had quickly abandoned for etching in the Glasgow Looking Glass. Seymour’s presence at the Looking Glass resulted for short time in the page being built up from a mass of small images, but it seems likely that McClean wanted to take the periodical in another direction closer to the old style of large satirical political images. He re-titled the magazine McLean’s Monthly Sheet of Caricatures or the Looking Glass, and may well have exercised closer control over Seymour’s choice of subjects, perhaps drawing in amateurs to suggest topics. Seymour worked on at the magazine until 1836, having left Figaro in London acrimoniously in 1834. He was replaced by Henry Heath, who showed much more interest in city life than in traditional political subjects. Seymour, however, seemed entirely willing to mix in political and social topics in his multi-image pages. Sometimes he used the familiar structures of eighteenth century caricature, as in his image of ‘Four Specimens of the Political Publick’ which used a line of contrasting figures to represent differing aspects of a political issue, in this case parliamentary reform (vol. 2, no. 20, August 1st. 1831). [36 iii] Other images returned to traditional socio-political topics like ‘The March of Intellect’, here satirised in a number of punning images (vol. 2, no. 21, September 1st. 1831). [36 iv] Other images still offered punning comic analysis of well-known publishers’ names (vol. 2, no. 24, December 1st. 1831). [36 v] Seymour showed considerable ingenuity, along with contemporaries like C.J. Grant, in developing the large multi-image lithographed page (double page spread from vol.2, no.20, August 1st. 1831).
All the several attempts in the 1830s to found a successful caricature magazine using lithography foundered both on the expense of their production and on the uncertainty over whether to persist with the declining political caricature tradition or look for a new readership among those pleased by smaller, less complex humorous images of social incident. Nonetheless, the Looking Glass was relatively long lived for such an expensive periodical and gave Seymour (who almost never signed his work for the magazine) a wide audience for his work. It was also extremely influential in establishing seriality as a mode for the publication of caricature, far outselling its contemporary rivals like C.J. Grant’s Everybody’s Album, and making the case for the multi-image page as a proper medium for comic art.There is an extremely detailed analysis of the various Looking Glass journals and their contemporaries in Richard Pound’s unpublished thesis (see bibliography).
See illustrations: [36 i] | [36 ii] | [36 iii] | [36 iv] | [36 v] | [36 vi]  
[37] 1831-1834 and 1835-1836. Figaro in London. [37 i – v]

Seymour drew the famous masthead [37 iii] and weekly wood engraved illustration (in the woodcut manner of the Hone/Cruikshank pamphlets) for Figaro in London from December 1831 until August 1834, when he quarrelled with the editor Gilbert à Beckett. Seymour was also, in a blaze of publicity, brought in to produce additional caricatures on occasion. Seymour produced about 300 images for Figaro. His illustrations are all small scale wood engraved vignettes of political subjects, usually dropped into the title page of a weekly issue. [37 iv] Occasionally, however, Seymour was asked to build up an entire page of small images. [37 v] All five of the illustrations here are taken from the first volume of Figaro and include the volume title page [37 i] and the title page of the first weekly issue dated December 1st. 1831. In August 1834 Seymour and a Beckett quarrelled, ostensibly about payment, but more seriously about a Beckett’s refusal to give the older and more celebrated Seymour control over what he drew, and, perhaps, fundamental temperamental and social differences. Seymour’s work was absent from the magazine until issue 165 in January 31st. 1835 with Henry Mayhew as the new editor. Seymour’s row with Figaro is commemorated in the Sketches, which was being published at the same time. The plate of a bill-sticker (‘Oh dear, Sir, it vos the vind! To think it should be pasted too!) shows, as one of several posters on a wall behind, a bill, declaring in capitals ‘R.Seymour respectfully informs the public that he has declined all connection with Figaro!’.
Seymour’s work also appeared in publications related to and largely drawn from Figaro in London including Figaro’s Caricature Gallery (January 1835), a broadsheet collection of Figaro images, and six issues of Seymour’s Comic Scrapsheet (January 1836 on), with each sheet containing around twenty of the Figaro images. Such separate republication of Seymour’s caricatures suggests their continuing popularity.
See illustrations: [37 i] | [37 ii] | [37 iii] | [37 iv] | [37 v]   
[38] 1831-1835 Comic Offering or Ladies’ Melange of Literary Mirth ed. Louisa Henrietta Sheridan [Smith Elder & Co.]

Seymour drew the frontispieces for volumes 1 and 5, [38 i][38 ii] and the title page, which was used for all five volumes with just the date being changed. [38 i – ii] Signed work by Seymour is visible in volumes 1 (3 images), 2 (9 images) and 3 (16 images) and 4 (1 image). Seymour seems to have been the main illustrator for the first three of these volumes, although much of his work seems not to have been signed. No signed work appears in the fifth volume.The first volume was published in ribbed publisher’s cloth, subsequent volumes in matched embossed dark red leather. The illustrations comprise full page (though this is a small octavo format) and vignette wood engravings many of which are unsigned. Seymour drew the frontispiece for four of the volumes. They all offer carnivalesque depictions of fun and comedy. The volume 1 frontispiece ‘Away with melancholy’, engaved by Slader, has a ‘March of Comicality’ idea with a procession of clowns and other carnival figures marching in travesty of a political protest. [38 i] The prominent banners feature ‘Puns’, ‘Tales’, ‘Bon Mots’ and ‘Satire’. The ‘Puns’ banner is at the forefront.
[38 iii] Sleeping Beauty
[38 iii] Sleeping Beauty
Volume 2 has ‘Writers and Readers’ as its frontispiece, which shows The Comic Offering surrounded by tiny fantasy figures, and was drawn by Kenny Meadows. The frontispiece to Volume 3 is unsigned. Volume 4 has a wonderfully inventive Seymour frontispiece which depicts a trading ship moored to a quay, flying the flag of The Comic Offering, and unloading its cargo of ‘Reviews’, ‘Jeu D’Esprit’, ‘Puns’ and so on. [38 ii] Volume 5 offers ‘The Wag-on’ of fun, designed by Louisa Harrison, drawn by Seymour and engraved by Slader. It shows a wagon leaving the ‘General Wag Office’ laden with parcels of ‘puns’, ‘jests’, and ‘stories’, leaving behind ‘the blues’, ‘low spirits’ and ‘fogs’. The image is much less sophisticated than Seymour’s previous frontispiece designs, and coincides with the engraving in the Comic Offering shifting more into a simple linear mode and embracing lithography. Seymour drew the title page, which was used for all five volumes with just the date changed.
Most of the illustrations in volume one are unsigned, but Seymour signed three. [38 iii] [38 iv] [38 v] These images have a high degree of finish and are highly naturalistic in mode. They are closer to up-market book illustration than caricature. By the second volume Seymour’s name or initials are attached to nine illustrations, and Kenny Meadows also has a signed illustration. The engravers who sign images include Gorway, Slader, Jackson, G.D. [presumably George Dorrington] and E.N.. Volume three has sixteen signed Seymour images, a number by Kenny Meadows and one by George Cruikshank. Most of Seymour’s images for this volume take the form of rather crudely drawn visual/verbal puns much in the idiom of New Readings but without that work’s sophisticated literary allusions and delicate grotesque visual manner. [38 vi – x]  By volume five there seems to have been a major shift, and it may be that Seymour had stopped contributing to the annual, although he did design the new frontispiece. Those illustrations which are signed are either by Robert Cruikshank, or else produced as lithographs by Dean and Mundy signed by Sable and Kelly. Seymour seems to have been the main illustrator for this annual for at least volumes 2 and 3, not always signing his work. He may also have contributed many anonymous images to the first volume – he was less well known in 1831, and may not have felt that his signature was worth anything. Nowhere in the Comic Offering apparatus are the illustrators credited – there is a list of ‘embellishments’ in each volume but artists are not named there.
See illustrations: [38 i] | [38 ii] | [38 iii] | [38 iv] | [38 v] 
[39] 1831-1832 The National Omnibus [Not seen] Seymour is described as a contributor in various advertisements in William Strange publications.
[40] 1832 The Thief [Not seen - all information taken from advertisement leaves in vol. 1 of Figaro in London, published by William Strange, 28 Paternoster Row.]

The Thief ran for approximately 19 weekly issues from April to early September 1832. Issue 13 was advertised on July 13th. and the changing of the magazine into The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Literary Journal on September 8th. The 17th. issue was announced on August 18th. 1832. Published weekly on Friday, price 2d. per issue. Described as being ‘the size of the Times’ – presumably a broadside of four pages in style similar to Bell’s Life in London. No mention is made of illustration except in reference to the supplement, but I’m assuming it incorporated wood engravings after the manner of Bell’s Life. Issue 13 was advertised as also offering a ‘Quarterly Supplement of 100 Engravings By Cruikshank, Seymour and others, which will cost the proprietors 500 guineas but will be sold to the public for only two pence’. The number of engravings was later stated as being 126. This issue however (but not the supplement) ran into trouble with the Vice-Chancellor (Sir Lancelot Shadwell) and was subject to an injunction. It seems to have been stopped by the Athenaeum. The supplement continued to be advertised separately. September 8th. Figaro announces: New literary journal the size of the Athenaeum for twopence: ‘The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Literary Journal – ‘The Thief’. The Thief, in obedience to the wishes of several subscribers, has adopted this Title; and furthermore, to enable them to preserve a work so replete with delightful, amusing and instructive articles, will, for the future, be folded into Sixteen Royal Quarto Pages; and will, moreover, put forward new claims to public favour and support as an IMPARTIAL CRITICAL REVIEW.’ Thus The Thief has become an entirely new magazine, though advertised as a ‘new series’, and Seymour had nothing to do with the new journal.
[41] 1832 The Devil in London [1-6] /Asmodeus, or the Devil in London [8-24] / Asmodeus in London [25-37] [41 i] Published in 37 weekly four page issues between Feb 29th. 1832 and November 10th. 1832. An unstamped penny weekly illustrated by ‘upwards of Eighty Original Caricatures…by Seymour and Hornegold’.
[42] 1832-1834 Comic Magazine (4 series). Edited by Gilbert a Beckett with an ‘amazing number of amusing cuts of the punning order, after Seymour’s designs.’ [Everitt] [42 i – iii]

The volume issue in cloth boards cost 7/6d.Volume 1, First Series – 6 monthly issues, April – September 1832. Price one shilling per issue. The first four issues were published by William Kidd, but James Gilbert (‘late W.Kidd’) takes over from issue 5 and publishes the volume reprint which cost 7/6d. with quarter leather and paper boards, gilt edges. (48 pp. per issue?). The Editor from issue 3 was Gilbert a Beckett, always called ‘Editor of Figaro in London’, and he seems to have also edited all of volume 2.Volume 2, Second Series – 6 monthly issues October 1832 – March 1833. ix + 271. [42 iv – vii] Volume reprint dated 1833, published at the Penny National Library Office, 369 Strand and dated 1833. (This may well be Strange – he is advertising Penny National publications extensively in Figaro).
Volume 3 and 4 were published, but I have had difficulty in finding complete copies. I have seen a single issue from March 1834 with ‘Fourth Series No. 24’ on the cover which would form the final issue of a fourth volume. [42 viii – xi] This copy appears to have been annotated by George Cruikshank – the phrase ‘thief Kidd’ appears on the front cover in what looks like Cruikshank’s hand, and [42 x] shows a further vitriolic inscription either in Cruikshank’s own hand or in facsimile. Given Geroge Cruikshank’s long running feud with Kidd, it is not surprising to see these denunciations. Seymour, who depended heavily on Kidd for work, could scarcely have taken a similarly high handed response to his publisher.
Nothing in the copies I have seen acknowledges that the illustrations are by Seymour, nor are any of them signed. But the advertisement for issue 2 (May 1832) talks of ‘numerous engravings by Seymour’ and the work is frequently listed in Seymour’s works, so there seems little reason to doubt his contribution. Volume 1 is advertised with ‘upwards of 100 comic engravings’ but no mention is made of Seymour by name. The contributors’ list grows steadily and suggests a magazine seeking to develop a ‘literary’ kind of humour alongside the comic and caricature wood engravings in the Regency manner – the exemplar is obviously Hood’s comic miscellanies and periodicals. À Beckett was clearly a catch to front up the magazine and shameless use is made of his connection with Figaro. The contributors advertised start off with the two veteran dramatists turned humorists, Poole and Peake, (‘the names of Peake and Poole stand deservedly high with the public’) and later add in Moncrieff, Louisa Sheridan from the Comic Offering, Isabel Hill, Thomas Dibdin and Walter Arnold. Some of the illustrations seem to have been shared with the Comic Offering. This is a very Regency line up and suggests a rather backward looking sense of the comic, drawing especially on the comic drama.
42 viii
[42 viii] The Comic Magazine
See illustrations: [42 i] | [42 ii] | [42 iii] | [42 iv] | [42 v] | [42 vi] | [42 vii] | [42 viii] | [42 ix] | [42 x]  
[43] n.d. [1832] New Comic Magazine [William Marshall n.d.] The undated New Comic Magazine published by William Marshall, edited by ‘The Author of Lays for Light Hearts, etc.’ claimed to be ‘illustrated with numerous comic engravings by R.Seymour’. [43 i – iii] Although crudely drawn there is some case for Seymour having contributed to this journal, but both this magazine and [44] may have been fraudulently cashing in on the celebrity of artists like Seymour and the Cruikshanks. Marshall also published something called The Comic Magazine, entirely unrelated to [42] which claimed to have illustrations by ‘Robert Cruickshank’, although none were signed.
See illustrations: [43 i] | [43 ii] | [43 iii]  
[44] n.d. [1832?] The Original Comic Magazine (John Duncombe n.d.)

Another confusingly titled small scale weekly magazine that used crudely drawn wood engravings that sought to use the names of illustrators as a major selling point. Issue 17 of Punch in London published by John Duncombe on May 4 1832 is made up of images from The Original Comic Magazine and lists Seymour, Jones and Robert Cruikshank as contributors, and together with engravers such as Bonner and W.C.Walker
[45] 1836 Hood’s Comic Almanack  Listed by Houfe as containing Seymour illustrations.
[46] April 1836   The Library of Fiction vol. 1, no. 1 (Chapman and Hall March 31st. 1836).

2 wood engraved illustrations to Dickens’s The Tuggs’ at Ramsgate. Issued on the same day as the first part of Pickwick Papers. Cruikshank provided the illustration for this story when it was republished in volume form as Sketches by Boz, New Series. See Slater Dickens’s Journalism I, xxv and 327 and Grego Pictorial Pickwickiana 1, 489-491. Seymour’s images were engraved by Ebenezer Landells.