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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford


The artist and engraver Robert Seymour is chiefly famous for two related things – his role as the first illustrator and (perhaps) part-instigator of Dickens’s first novel Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) and his untimely suicide at the early age of 38 which ultimately resulted in the long and successful alliance between Dickens and ‘Phiz’ (Hablot Browne) as author and illustrator. But, for all his early death, Seymour’s output was both large and varied, encompassing a mass of engraved single plate etched; engraved and lithographed caricatures; several short sequences of thematically linked caricature plates usually in oblong folio format; a huge variety of wood engraved illustrations for comic magazines and books; an extended sequence of small format punning lithographs (New Readings of Old Authors) which offer an unrivalled glimpse of urban street and domestic life among the more modest classes in the early 1830s; and, accompanied by various commissioned texts, a sequence of comic images of picaresque rural adventures largely undertaken by vulgar urban innocents best known as Seymour’s Sketches. It was the Sketches that ultimately defined Seymour as a ‘sporting’ artist for his Victorian readers, although earlier work such as the 1833 Maxims and Hints for Anglers had used a similar idiom. The prodigious energy and variety of this disparate body of work offers many insights into the jobbing role and volatile market-place that confronted, and often intimidated, comic artists at this time.
As already suggested, Seymour was generally categorised by Victorians as a ‘sporting’ artist, and this tag has followed him on into the present day. Certainly much of his work derived its humour from the confusion experienced by urban sporting adventurers when they found themselves in the countryside. Such a comedy of dislocation was underpinned by a strong sense of class. The would-be anglers, shooters and huntsmen shown in Seymour’s work were drawn from what might be loosely called the urban middling classes – tradesmen, clerks, shopkeepers, higher servants and the like. In their forays into rural pastimes, such people were expressing not just a new sense of the potentiality of a leisure only recently available to them but also a sense of social aspiration. Like so much graphic humour from this period, Seymour’s work is reflecting on the possibility of social aspiration becoming a socially disruptive force, and many of his images, especially in the Sketches, shrug such potentially intimidating social change back into perspective through laughter. Seymour’s reassuring delineation of class mobility as a social phenomenon in his sporting images was perhaps one of the characteristics that ensured his continuing popularity with Victorian readers.
[22b ii] Sketches by Seymour
[22b ii] Sketches by Seymour
But there are other aspects of his work that substantiate his claim to be an important figure in any attempt to understand Regency urban culture. While retaining on into the 1830s an interest in the grotesque human body inherited from earlier caricature, Seymour’s work largely depicts, with a strong element of close empirical observation, the emerging middling classes and their urban proximity to the labouring classes. Many of his images depend on street encounters between often contrasting individuals, some of them amicable, others dependent on the frictions of pavement contiguity. While his interest in such encounters depends on an accurate delineation of ‘difference’, his primary mode is more comic than sociological, and the pretensions of lower middle class aspirations are as amusing to him as the barbarous vulgarity of working men and women. Increasingly, too, his urban tableaux are enacted indoors - in the domestic interiors of the lower middle and labouring classes, which are depicted through a repertoire of emblematic detail, or in the eating and leisure haunts of the urban workforce, especially coffee houses. The dialogue between an embryonic naturalism and an inherited affection for the grotesque and the exaggerated in such images is of particular interest to anyone trying to trace the origins of Victorian social self-awareness.
[21 ix]
[21 ix] "Here they're but felt, and seen with mistful eyes"
New Readings for Old Authors
A further reason for close study of Seymour’s work is the extended dialogue he elaborates between the visual and the verbal. Much of his work uses a visual image to subvert a seemingly stable word, phrase or quotation. Indeed, one of his major works, the 260 images that form New Readings of Old Authors, entirely consists of visual commentary on Shakespearean quotations (and a few from Byron) in which the image rewrites the quotation as a sly comment on contemporary social mores. In this fascination with the visual/verbal pun, Seymour is, along with Thomas Hood, a leading figure in developing Regency concepts of humour. It is certainly possible to read such punning re-workings of stable linguistic formulations as an interesting mode of response to complex social change, in which the worrying instability of signs is laughed into perspective through the cathartic use of humour. There is a more detailed reading of Seymour’s preoccupation with punning in the discussion of New Readings below.
Robert Seymour belonged to that generation of comic artists which, in order to survive commercially, shifted the focus of their work from single plate, often large-scale etchings, engraving and (by the 1820s) lithographs which had characterised the eighteenth century to smaller scale wood engraving and lithography which was most often contained within the pages of a printed text. This transition was accompanied by, or perhaps helped to construct, a changed focus of interest, with socio-cultural subjects, especially urban street life, the social ambitions and confusions of the emergent middle classes and the domestic lives of artisans replacing the political and the personal satire traditional to the earlier caricature tradition. Seymour was unusual among comic artists working between 1820 and 1840 in that he was trained as an artist working for wood engravers very early in his career. His best known immediate contemporaries – George Cruikshank, Robert Cruikshank, Henry Heath, William Heath, and Henry Alken among them – were trained in the etched and engraved caricature tradition, and had to undertake considerable adjustment to the new demands of a market-place built round comic annuals, humorous pamphlets, miscellaneous gatherings of small graphic jokes and puns, illustrated song-books and play-texts, and even, at the far point of miscellaneity and commercial demand, small scale ‘scraps’ aimed at filling the laboriously compiled albums that preoccupied the considerable leisure time of genteel young women.
What follows is the beginnings of a bibliographical investigation into Seymour’s published work. Each entry has been given a number, which is given in bold and enclosed in square brackets – for example [18]. A few of the more complex entries containing a sequence of editions are further ascribed a sub-number – thus [17g]. In order to try to suggest the nature of Seymour’s work more fully, the entry numbers are used to structure groups of images, which form the second major element of this exhibit, and which can be accessed from the list. Not all the entries have accompanying images, but where there are images they are denotated by green numbers (links) within the entry. Each numbered reference to a related image tries to cite the reference at the appropriate moment of the entry in the list.
A detailed listing of Seymour’s work is required for a number of reasons. First, such lists as exist are either inaccurate or incomplete, or both. While the listing offered below is in many respects nothing more than an introductory one, it is more comprehensive and detailed than anything yet available, and its publication here opens it up to further correction and development. Where possible, entries are based on a close study of the texts concerned and have not been derived from secondary sources except where noted. Second, such a listing, even without the single plate caricatures, gives an extraordinary insight into the feverish range of activities required for a jobbing engraver to make a living, and suggests the close knit nature of commercial publishing in the 1820s and 1830s. Third, the complex sequence of editions of Seymour’s major work, especially the Sketches, has never been described in any detail. Interesting as this listing is in itself, it is equally important for the account it gives of how Regency graphic humour was sustained and re-made throughout the early and mid-Victorian period. Regency caricature – as clearly shown by Thackeray’s autobiographical reminiscences – formed a major reference point for Victorian accounts of the urban experience, and the graphic works of George Cruikshank and Henry Alken in particular were endlessly reprinted throughout the nineteenth century. Such a retrospective Victorian yearning for a Regency vision of the city experience forms an important contrast to the intense social investigations, rooted in empirical observation and documentary literary modes, of the likes of Mayhew and Booth. Seymour’s work was re-formulated, and, indeed, substantially re-made for Victorian taste in complex ways which only become clear through a detailed bibliographical study of the sequence of shifting versions of his Sketches.
Separately issued single plate caricatures and sets of caricatures by Seymour are, reluctantly, excluded here, so the listing comprises illustrations for books and periodicals and sets of prints issued or re-issued in book format with or without an accompanying text. Volume XI of the British Museum Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires offers a good starting place for investigating Seymour’s more traditional caricature production up to 1832 at least. Such listings of Seymour’s work that are available – notably the Wikipedia entry and ODNB entries – tend to mix in single plate caricatures, short series of plates without text, periodical contributions, book illustrations and extended series of plates like the Sketches or New Readings. The listing that follows is an attempt to give some shape to Seymour’s output by recognising the many genres, print locales and opportunist moments in and through which his work was produced. Clearly his more ‘political’ output was the consequence of long standing associations with authors and editors like Gilbert à Beckett, a Punch stalwart who also edited the satirical magazine Figaro in London. His work for À Beckett would have brought him into contact with small specialist ‘niche’ publishers like Richard Carlile, William Strange and Effingham Wilson, all of whom had interests in the dissemination of radical and progressive literature. Seymour’s various works for small format wood engraved comic publications brought him into contact with publishers like William Kidd, who was developing a range of new genres and formats for illustrated comic literature. His relationship with Kidd was an extended one that resulted in a wide range of comic and topographical publications which the following list has only just begun to unravel. Seymour’s two key publications under his own name – the Sketches and New Readings of Old Authors – involved entrepreneurs and publishers in the new speculative and volatile market-place for lithographed comic images, including shadowy but influential publishers like G. S. Tregear and William Spooner as well as Effingham Wilson. Early magazine work depended on Seymour’s work as a ‘house’ artist for a publisher venturing into the new market-place for mass circulation ‘information’ based literature. A full study of Seymour would clearly involve further investigation of the relationship between prolific journalists, obscure but feverishly inventive publishers and jobbing comic artists in the 1830s as well as a detailed understanding of the emergence of comic visual traditions in small-scale wood engraving and lithography.
This list is the product of my wider interest in the comic image and its market-place between 1820 and 1850, and is linked to a substantial collection of Seymour’s work that I have accumulated over many years. While I have consulted with a number of experts on the period, most notably Stephen Jarvis, the shortcomings of what follows are entirely my own. I expect to draw more fully at a later stage on Stephen Jarvis’s astonishingly detailed research on Seymour and make further additions to the list. I fully accept that the listings offered below are both incomplete and almost certainly inaccurate in detail. I have not seen everything I have listed, and some of the entries are taken from the secondary sources listed below without, as yet, further investigation. Further, there are aspects of their publication arising from the more complex texts, especially the Sketches, Pickwick and the New Readings, that I don’t fully understand despite having seen a wide range of relevant editions and secondary discussion. I have decided to make no attempt to offer a detailed account of Seymour’s Pickwick drawings and plates here – the secondary literature about these is enormous and, despite a mass of available evidence, still full of unresolved assertion. I leave anyone interested in Seymour and Dickens to make their own way through the many available discussions. The aim here is to develop a resource both to better the scholarly understanding of a major early nineteenth century comic artist and to let people see a broader range of his witty, inventive and trenchant commentary on both rural and (especially) urban society.

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Early Work 1823-1830

Seymour worked exclusively on wood, for the publishers Knight and Lacey in particular, from 1823 until 1827 when Knight and Lacey went bankrupt. His output during this period is obscure, although in all probability prolific, and was essentially the outcome of a failed career as a painter. Engen talks of him ‘drawing on wood blocks for various magazines and books’ during this period, and quotes the DNB comment that ‘nothing seemed to come amiss to him. He was as much at home with “Don Juan” as the “Book of Martyrs”, and passed with the confidence of youth from illustrating Demosthenes and Ovid to Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Gay, and Southey’. (Engen 233-234). I have not so far managed to trace these publications, and much of Seymour’s early work seems likely to remain unidentified.
Pocket Magazine
[33i] Arliss's Pocket Magazine
Title page
Knight and Lacey published, alongside scissors-and-paste multi-volume series of trials, theatrical gossip and anecdotes of artists, a number of magazines illustrated by wood engraving which were beginning to think through the ‘useful knowledge’ agenda for a new mass market. Their most significant publication in this field was the pioneering Mechanic’s Magazine (1823 on) which translated technical processes and visual information into small scale wood engraved formats for a new artisan readership.

But in the mid-twenties the firm also published the Library for the People (a pre-Penny Magazine serial encyclopaedia), the Housekeeper’s Magazine (an early version of the Family Economist, the Adventurer of the Nineteenth Century (an early journal of travel reportage) and, for a while, Arliss’s Pocket Magazine, [33 i] which, launched in 1820, pre-figured the Mirror of Literature in important ways despite the crude and tiny wood engraving which formed its illustrations. It may well be that Seymour did jobbing work for some of these many periodical ventures. Very little of the work was signed, so precise attribution is difficult.
Heseltine in his ODNB entry also gives the following books as certainly illustrated by Seymour in these years:
[1] William Robinson The History of Enfield (2 vols., 1823).
[2] Public Characters of All Nations (Knight and Lacey 3 vols., 1823).
[3] Le Diable Boiteux (1824) Presumably an edition of Le Sage’s work, which I have been unable to trace.
[4] Mary Sherwood My Uncle Timothy (Knight & Lacey; Harrison & Stephens 1825).

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Book and pamphlet illustration 1827-1834

In 1827 Seymour moved beyond wood engraving into etching and engraving as well as lithography, and began to illustrate a broad range of books and serials, working in both comic and more naturalistic idioms.
[5] 1827 ‘Piers Shafton’ [Herbert Trevelyan] Vagaries in Quest of the Wild and Whimsical [n.d.]. Heseltine in the ODNB cites this work as one of two early ventures by Seymour into etching but confusingly cites the book as Vagaries in Quest of the Wild and Wonderful by Piers Shafton Grafton.
[6] 1827 Herbert Trevelyan Snatches from Oblivion [n.d.]. The second volume cited by Heseltine as representing Seymour’s early etched work.
[7] 1828 Second Book of Lectures and Examinations for King’s College Students with the Inaugural Address of the Duke of Wellington (London: B Steill, 1828).  Steill published Pierce Egan’s novels in alliance with W. Strange and Sherwood and Jones, thus suggesting an interest in illustrated publications.
[8] 1827-1831 Richardson’s Minor Drama.

It seems more than likely that Seymour drew for one of the major sources of work for jobbing engravers in the late 1820s and 1830s – the series of engraved play-texts that served as mementoes of performances, offered texts for amateur performances, and provided a source of family entertainment. Most of these series used a wood engraving, caught between caricature and theatrical extravagance in idiom, as a frontispiece for the series, an image often claiming to be ‘taken from a performance’. Robert Cruikshank was particularly active in working in this format, but many of the images are unsigned. The only signed image by Seymour accompanying a play-text I have found is an image for The Mayor of Garrett (1831).
[9] 1829 Thomas Perronet Thompson The Catholic State Wagon from the Westminster Review – An Allegory (Cowie and Strange 1829). This 16 pp. pamphlet contains a woodcut by Seymour.
[10] 1830 The Odd Volume; or, Book of Variety: Illustrated by Two Odd Fellows, - Robert Seymour and Robert Cruikshank. The Engravings by Samuel Sladen. [William Kidd, 14 Chandos Street n.d. [1830]].

A sequel to Cruikshank at Home. The Preface declares that the ‘Engravings are the joint production of two clever artists – the one, Mr. Cruikshank, a long established favourite – the other, Mr. Seymour, a gentleman of far superior talent, but hitherto not quite, perhaps, so extensively known, in consequence of his short residence in London.’ The Preface also makes clear that the volume was intended as a fourth volume of Cruikshank at Home, but that the brothers had had a disagreement and fallen out with Kidd, and thus Seymour had been brought in.
Binding, The Odd Volume
[10 i] The Odd Volume
It was also stated that ‘Mr. Seymour will have the management of all future volumes – so far, at least, as relates to the Illustrations.’ The volume combines full page wood engravings with vignettes dropped into the text. Seymour has signed some of these – including the frontispiece [10 ii] – in the block. This volume marks the beginnings of Seymour’s extensive association with Kidd, a somewhat unscrupulous publisher who was producing a mass of guidebooks, textbooks and diverting literature mainly in small scale illustrated formats. Kidd became involved in a famous quarrel with George Cruikshank after ‘forgetting’ to specify which of the two brothers – the famous George and less well known Robert – had made illustrations for his publications. Nonetheless Seymour’s relationship with Kidd was an important one for the artist because the publisher was instrumental in defining and exploiting the market for small scale publications, often rather trivial in content, but which used comic wood engraved illustration to sell amusing but hardly substantial texts. The Odd Volume was reprinted, along with the third volume of Cruikshank at Home, by Henry Bohn in 1845. [10 vi] was re-used in Characteristic Sketches of Young Gentlemen [31].
See illustrations: [10 i] | [10 ii] | [10 iii] | [10 iv] | [10 v] | [10 vi] | [10 vii]
[11] 1830 anon. [Thomas Dibble Hervey?] The Devil’s Progress – A Poem (Lupton Rolfe 1830). A characteristic pamphlet ‘jeu d’esprit’ - a small size booklet with the text accompanied by small scale but highly finished wood engravings, both vignette and full page. [12] and [13] represent works produced in a similar idiom.
[12] n.d. [c.1830] Monsieur Nong-Tong-Paw Founded on a Song by the Late Charles Dibdin illustrated by ten wood engravings by Armstrong, Biggs and Walker from Designs by R. Seymour (J. Chappell).

A pamphlet of ‘facetiae’ apparently produced as a rival publication to a very similar illustrated pamphlet of the same poem published by Alfred Miller with Robert Cruikshank illustrations. The advert leaves in Chappell’s edition suggest that Seymour and Robert Cruikshank were at this time producing a mass of these short comic pamphlets for various opportunistic publishers, with Cruikshank later collecting these into the two volume Facetiae published by William Kidd in 1831. Chappell’s list suggests he was using both Cruikshank and Seymour to illustrate this rash of what were often called ‘jeux d’esprit’. The use of terms like ‘facetiae’ and ‘jeu d’esprit’ to describe such publications underlines their essential triviality, although the quality of the illustrations often transcends the undemanding comicality of the accompanying text.
[12 i]
[12 i] Monsieur Nong-Tong-Paw
Title page
See illustrations: [12 i] | [12 ii] | [12 iii]
[13] n.d. [c.1830/31] (F.Oldfield) A Trip to Richmond with eight wood-cut illustrations by Biggs, Dodd, Lee and Welch from Designs by R. Seymour. [J. Chappell]. [13 i] Advertised in [10], and clearly a companion piece to Cruikshank’s Trip to Greenwich.
A Trip To Richmond
[13 i] A Trip to Richmond
Title page
See illustrations: [13 i] | [13 ii]
[14] [1831] Kidd’s London Directory on a Novel Plan [W. Kidd, n.d.]

Four separate books bound up as a single volume, and illustrated by Seymour, Cruikshank and Bonner. See Cohn p.139 for a full description. The use of comic illustrators for such topographical publications is interesting, and suggests how far the genres of urban description had by this time become reliant on humour as a central mode of apprehending the city.
[15] 1831 Journal of a Landsman From Portsmouth to Lisbon (Thomas M’Clean 1831). 26 pp.

Seymour contributed 23 hand coloured lithographs to the copy of the book which is in the British Art Centre in New Haven. I have seen copies advertised on the web with slightly different numbers of plates. The plates are rather curiously signed ‘Seymour del’ but also have a symbol followed by ‘pinx’. It would be much more usual for lithographs just to have the artist both design and draw the plate. A few plates also have a ‘lith. Motte’ superscription. The text of the book is a straightforward picturesque travelogue written by an observing passenger on a voyage on a naval ship. Seymour’s illustrations, however, hover somewhere between the documentary and the comic. There are a surprising number of below deck scenes, usually taken from very high or strange angles, leading to disconcerting, rather out of perspective effects. The elaborate full page plates, with the images contained in decorative framing borders, are complemented by a number of vignette sized images which have been printed on separate sheets and then cut down and pasted in on the page alongside the text. This was clearly an expensive publication aimed at the library table of gentlemen with a somewhat slight text dignified by elaborate illustration. The use of pasted-in smaller illustrations alongside full page plates is interesting – and it forms some kind of acknowledgement of the wood engraved vignette as a kind of norm.
[16] The Comic Coronal; or Book of Merriment (William Kidd 1831).

A small sized volume issued in boards with paper labels which attempted to continue the form of [10]. The illustrations, largely full page wood engravings, are again by both Seymour and Robert Cruikshank. Although Kidd was sometimes less than honest about who had actually illustrated his publications,The Comic Coronalappears to be a genuine publication by these artists.
[17] 1832 The Pegasus and Harmonic Guide (H.A.Arliss 1832). 

Two wood engraved vignette illustrations in this interesting part-issue song-book are signed ‘RS’ [17 i – ii] though many are signed by W.C. W[alker ?]. I include a range of images to suggest something of the nature of the format and content of such publications. Song-books, usually issued in weekly parts with a vignette wood engraving on the front page of each issue, formed a crucial part of the emergent market-place for visual culture, and served to render the traditional woodcut of the broadside or ballad sheet into something more sophisticated and thus appropriate for more genteel or aspirational readers. I have seen a wide range of illustrated songbooks from the early 1830s, but this is the only one I have seen that contains signed illustrations by Seymour. However, given the exigencies of the market-place for wood engraving, he may well have drawn for other publications of this kind. Having worked with Arliss, a publisher who specialised in illustrated serial song books, on Arliss’s Magazine, it would not be surprising to find that Seymour had drawn for a range of his publications.
[17 iv]
[17 iv] The Cholera Morbus
The Pegasus and Harmonic Guide
See illustrations: [17 i] | [17 ii] | [17 iii] | [17 iv] | [17 v] | [17 vi]
[18] 1832 Lord Byron Canto XVII of Don Juan (James Gilbert, late W.Kidd 1832). Advertised in Figaro in London vol. 1, No.35 (August 4 1832) as ‘uniform with Mr. Murray’s new editions of Lord Byron’s works’, costing a shilling, and illustrated by Seymour.
[19] 1832 ‘The Great Unmentionable’ The Poetical March of Humbug (W.Strange? 1832).

Advertised in Figaro in London vol. 1, No.35 (August 4 1832). Described in the advertisement as containing ‘caricature imitations of the principal popular poets of the day (accompanied by light satirico-lyrico-biographico-critical notices) after the manner of “Rejected Addresses”, and with ‘Portrait Sketches…&c….by Seymour’. Seymour may have been re-using images from other published work in this shilling pamphlet.
[20] 1833 Richard Penn Maxims and Hints For an Angler: and Miseries of Fishing (John Murray 1833 – reprinted 1839 according to the Princeton catalogue). 12 lithographs, the second of which has been claimed as a source for Pickwick – as, of course, have other of Seymour’s images - see [27], [44] and [46].

The book is arranged in three sections – The Maxims and Hints for an Angler; The Miseries of Fishing; and Hints and Maxims for a Chess Player, and is structured like the Miseries of Human Life as a sequence of numbered short observations. The book is a small octavo in size, and very unassuming. Seymour’s illustrations are very linear little lithographs that look much like etchings. They have been printed on separate pages and then pasted into the book. There is a mildly satirical good humouredness about the images, which depict vaguely incompetent fishermen. The book forms an obvious forerunner to the Sketches, both in subject and in mode, and the etching/lithograph similarity furthers the connection. The most interesting image is the frontispiece which shows two men playing chess in the glow of a lamp, an image held in a kind of engraved bubble round the outside of which are arranged elements of fishing tackle and reeds. The image links the outdoor pleasures of fishing with the quiet indoor pleasures of chess. This formal structure is used again in the title pages to the Sketches. Seymour is not given credit on the title page, or indeed anywhere in the text, as the book’s illustrator, but all the illustrations are signed in the plate. In addition to the lithographed plates there are three wood engraved vignettes on pp. 20, 24 and 37.

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Serial works 1 – New Readings of Old Authors

[21] 1830-1833(?) New Readings of Old Authors [lithographs produced as a monthly serial, but reprinted in 4 volumes in 1841-1842 by Tilt and Bogue.] [21 i – xvi].
[21 i] Front Cover
[21 i] New Readings of Old Authors
Front Cover, Issues 1-2
The complete New Readings comprise 26 monthly part issues, each part made up of ten or sometimes eleven small octavo lithographed images protected by tissue guards and sewn into decorative printed paper covers. Each issue also contained a title page, and some issues also contained advertisements both for forthcoming issues of New Readings, extracts from press reviews, and, later, advertisements for various of Charles Tilt’s other publications including caricature collections by George Cruikshank and Henry Heath. The front cover image was twice altered. The original publication had, for the first two issues, a classical stage set with columns and drapes. At the top of the page is an image of Shakespeare overlaid with a comic mask, suggesting both deference to the classics and a satirical take on them. Issues 3-19 use a different image, signed by Seymour, which shows Shakespeare chewing a quill pen and frowning over a book while being overlooked from the top of the page by a jester. [21 i] [21 ii] [21 iii]. This cover was replaced for issues 20 to 26 by a more classically structured, simpler title page that seems to have signalled the end of the association between Wilson and Tilt, with Tilt becoming the sole publisher. The back cover image was similarly changed after issue 2. None of these changes appear in the 1841-42 volume reprints which use the covers introduced in issue 3 for the entire publication. Each issue cost 1s 6d.
The images are normally uncoloured, but the Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven holds a coloured copy. The publisher of the first issue was E.Wilson, but the second issue (Othello) is jointly published by Wilson and Charles Tilt. E.Wilson was presumably the firm better known as Effingham Wilson which specialised in progressive and radical literature. The publication of the work passed solely to Tilt at issue 20. The lithographic printer throughout was G.E.Madeley of Wellington Street, Strand. The issues are undated, but seem to belong to 1830-1833. The series was reprinted in 4 volumes in 1841-1842 by Tilt and Bogue and was still being advertised by Tilt in the 1852 Comic Almanack, which seems to suggest some level of continuing popularity. Complete copies of the work, however, seem now to be scarce, and are held only by a few libraries. In addition to a bound coloured copy, the Yale Centre for British art holds an uncoloured copy in the original parts. New Readings of Old Authors is Seymour’s sustained tribute to the visual/verbal pun as a central comic idea in Regency Britain. In such puns an ingenious graphic image subverts the conventional meaning of frequently banal words and phrases into often surreal or absurd visual equivalents, thus undermining the assumed stability of language and its ability to express unequivocal shared meanings. As the ‘Address’ that appears in the first issue puts it: ‘“The New Readings of Old Authors” are graphic illustrations of select and familiar quotations from their works, defined in their natural, apposite, and unsophisticated sense. It is, certainly, possible that the Artist, in his anxiety after fidelity, may occasionally have been betrayed into trifling misconceptions; and that his ideas may differ, in some degree, from those of many significant Critics, but, in extenuations of such occurrence, he has to plead, that greater men, with superior pretensions and paramount faculties, have been equally importunate.’ It is such ‘trifling misconceptions’ that give the work its comic energy.
To give some sense of the nature of this work, a full single issue, ‘Pericles’, is reproduced showing the title page and the 10 plates that form the monthly issue. [21 v-xiv]. While the images offer a knowing and often quite witty re-cycling of original Shakespearean phrases with characteristic Regency delight in the humorous dislocations caused by the visual/verbal punning involved, it is the account of urban life that seems to me most interesting here. Most of the images are set indoors, but show scenes that take place in public or semi-public spaces -- in two cases in tailors’ workshops [21v] and [21 xiv], and in other instances in a tailor’s shop [21 vi], a financial office [21 viii], a cigar divan [21 viii], an omnibus [21 x], and a theatre [21xiv] . One image occurs in a domestic interior [21 vii]. Only a single image reflects Seymour’s speciality, a ‘sporting’ image in which three would-be sportsmen have ventured to ignore a ‘trespassers beware’ sign, and have been attacked by a burly water bailiff. [21 xi] There is also a solitary street scene, in which two well upholstered clergymen are visiting London and proceeding up Regent Street. One takes in the sights through a quizzing glass, while the other lasciviously tries to kiss an alarmed woman passer-by. [21 xii] The world depicted here is unmistakeably urban, equally firmly male, and utterly sociable – or at least built on human interaction of one kind or another. No character is shown on his or her own. Seymour’s London is thus a world of close contiguity and contact. It is therefore a potentially disorderly world in which human interaction results in either conflict or extravagantly theatrical moments. The class origins of the metropolitan denizens shown is broad, ranging from the frock-coated ‘gentlemen’ who frequent the cigar divan and the theatre, through dissolute but somewhat dandified clergymen, down to skilled artisans, clerks, actors and bailiffs. Elsewhere in New Readings, Seymour focuses even more resolutely on the lower ends of the urban spectrum – on sweeps’ boys, dustmen, draymen and grooms in particular.
[21 v] Here's a snip
[21 v] "Here's snip and nip and cut and slish and slash"
Seymour’s original aim seems to have been to use a wide range of literary sources for his graphic re-enactments of verbal meanings. The third issue of New Readings was devoted to Byron’s Giauor, but thereafter every issue was devoted to a single Shakespeare play. To produce over 260 images in this idiom was obviously a considerable feat of sustained comic invention, and a number of key ideas underpin Seymour’s project.
Fundamentally, then, Seymour builds a characteristically Regency representation of London – a world of chance encounter and accident, constant reversals of fortune, but essentially theatrical, spectacular and full of dramatic interest. Seymour also shows a strong adherence to the modes of eighteenth century caricature through his interest in body shapes, and especially in the play between the svelte if self-conscious elegance of the swells in the cigar divan, the well-nourished and complacent obesity of the man at the tailor’s shop, and the gigantic traveller who has unwittingly sat upon a thinner man in the omnibus. Other typical caricature exaggerations of particular physical features occur – the tailor in [21 vi] has a head too big for his body, and the actor in [21 xiv] shows off an enormous mouth. All the figures border on the grotesque. Yet the urban energy displayed by this group of images is immediately visible. Seymour delineates a society in which chance encounters and everyday meetings are imbued with a sense of both theatrical sociability and visual delight. In evident contrast to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century caricature tradition, much of this urban drama takes place not on the streets, but rather in enclosed commercial spaces – offices, workshops, places of entertainment, an omnibus. Such a sense of enclosure is underlined by the nature of the images themselves, as the potentially vague and crayonny shape of the lithograph is here tightly enclosed into a double ruled frame. Many lithographed comic images from this period act out a similar dialogue between the ‘edgeless’ nature of the lithographed image and a highly regulated linear page layout that contains the image tightly into ruled boxes. C.J.Grant’s several lithographed magazines are particularly dominated by boxes, grids and rules. Overall in the New Readings Seymour, while acknowledging his deep affection for the tropes, structures and codes of traditional eighteenth century caricature, is beginning to move his work out from exaggeration and the grotesque towards a more closely observed, more naturalistic account of an interacting society in which aggressive sociability is constantly rescued from potential disaster by its comic potential.

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Serial works 2 - Sketches by Seymour

[22] Seymour’s Sketches proved to be one of the most popular books of the nineteenth century, and was reprinted time and time again after its original publication in the mid 1830s. Indeed, it still remains an immediately accessible text, with illustrated internet versions freely available at Google Books, Project Gutenberg and the Open Library, and the illustrations separately available at the Dore website. Given the widespread availability of the images from the Sketches on the web, I have concentrated here on images that suggest the range of differing editions that were published across over fifty years of the nineteenth century. It is important to add, however, that all of the web based editions cited above derive from late editions of the book, as does the recent ‘print on demand’ version offered by many booksellers on Abe Books. Additionally all of these recent editions, both electronic and print, are, unsurprisingly, rather vague about the date of original publication and the relationship of their published versions to the book’s printing history, which is indeed exceptionally complex. The following list, while it certainly falls short of completeness and fails to state exactly quite how Seymour’s plates wandered through the nineteenth century so extensively, does make a substantial point clear. While originally conceived as a predominantly visual experience, the Sketches became inextricably tied to extended texts quite early in their publishing history. Only a lazily produced late edition [22g] sought to present Seymour’s images on their own as originally published. Yet, equally important, there were enough single plates from the editions of the Sketches published in the 1830s and 1840s floating about nineteenth century print culture to constitute an important popular presence for Seymour’s images without any additional textual explication.
The Sketches form a difficult publication for bibliographical listing. Some of the printed editions cited below, despite evidence of high production values, carry no information about publishers, printers, or dates of publication. The plate shown in [22 i], for example, appears in an edition where there is evidence that the publishers’ details have been scratched out in the plate. This edition [22 ii] was published in gold stamped boards, but carries no information about its publication. The following list of editions is drawn from a variety of sources, and is almost certainly incomplete. Nor is the relationship between the various editions clear, with the ownership of the copyright of the images seemingly shared between a number of publishers and in complex relationship to the various texts associated with them.
[22a] 1834-1836 Humorous Sketches [180 plus lithographed prints published individually or in small groups with no accompanying text] (Richard Carlile). [22a 1]  

After Seymour’s death in 1836, the publisher William Spooner, who specialised in cheap lithographic prints, re-issued many of the Sketches plates as a means of raising money for Mrs. Seymour. They appear under their joint imprint, and retain the coloured paper used in the original Carlile publication.
[22a i] Have you read?
[22a i] "Have you read the Leader...?"
Seymour's Sketches
Seymour’s Sketches was the most spectacular Victorian survival of the urban picaresque derived from the eighteenth century caricature tradition. Originally issued between 1834 and 1836 by Richard Carlile in single plates costing threepence each or as short series of plates, Seymour’s lithographed stones were sold on to the entrepreneur Henry Wallis. In a canny move characteristic of a burgeoning awareness of how to work the market for visual culture, Wallis sold on the stones to G.S.Tregear, who re-issued all 180 of Seymour’s images in five volumes along with new title pages, probably in 1837, forming, along with the same artist’s New Readings of Old Authors, one of the defining visual accounts of just Victorian London. But Wallis was aware of the new potential of the visual/verbal inter-relationship, and, having kept the copyrights to Seymour’s images, re-drew 86 of the images on steel, brought in ‘Crowquill’ (Albert Forrester) to write a connecting narrative for the sequence of plates, and re-issued the resulting volume as Seymour’s Humorous Sketches in 1841. The volume may perhaps have been an attempt to help Seymour’s family after the artist’s suicide, though there seems little precise evidence to support this possibility, although a range of plates under the joint imprint of William Spooner and Mrs. Seymour were issued at this time. It was this version of Seymour’s plates, with an emphasis on the narrative potential of the adventures of a gauche urbanite at large in the countryside playing at pursuits such as fishing and shooting, that continued to please later Victorian readers. Henry Bohn re-issued a second edition of this book in 1841 adding in a descriptive list of the plates and a brief biography of Seymour, thus adding further layers of mediating textuality to an originally entirely visual project. 
The Bohn version of the book – 86 plates, the Crowquill text, the Bohn descriptive list and biography, and the single title page and frontispiece rather than the five found in the Tregear volumes – was then reprinted successively in (at least) 1866, 1872, 1878, 1880 and 1888. Even right at the end of the century some of the plates were to be found in the stock book of a Bristol printer. Another, completely different text by ‘R.B. Peake’ built round 92 of Seymour’s original plates was issued by in 1846 (by Routledge, although my copy gives no publisher), its intended audience made clear in its title – An Evening’s Amusement; or the Adventures of a Cockney Sportsman. In this version the transformation of Seymour’s original series of plates into something far more Pickwickian than Seymour had initially imagined was complete.
One late edition of the Sketches, published by Frederick Bentley (n.d. c.1880?), offers ninety-seven caricature etchings ‘for the first time offered to the public free from the incumbrances of letter press’. This assertion was of course not true – Bentley here returns Seymour’s project to its original form, although using only a selection of the images available in the series. The publisher further notes in his Preface that ‘the conceptions of this famous Artist so speak for themselves, that they produce a hearty and spontaneous laugh. . . .any laboured description is a stumbling block rather than an advantage to them’. Issued in highly decorated blind stamped boards the images are reproduced on large pages so that the (poorly reproduced) images are surrounded by a considerable expanse of white paper. The images have also been organised into two sequences, with sporting images forming the first half of the book followed by images of urban incident for the remainder. Thus this edition acknowledges the two strands of Seymour’s interests in drawing the original Sketches, something that the additional texts by Crowquill and Peake had largely subordinated in their added narratives.
There are a number of reasons to dwell on the complex history of this particular book. The first is the sense of the opening up of the market for visual culture it suggests. The second is the way in which Seymour’s urban vision, an essentially visual apprehension of the world expressed through traditional caricature tropes of transgression and reversal – the would-be urban sophisticate unmanned and unmannered by the alien threats of a misunderstood countryside – was mediated into later Victorian consciousness through incremental levels of textuality. The addition of a text just beginning to emerge from the picaresque into the realist mode provided a first step, but it was really Bohn’s explanatory notes to the plates (suggesting that their immediate visual meaning was likely to be obscure to later readers) and biography of Seymour that turned the text into an interesting antique survival of a lost era rather than a living and immediate response to the Victorian city. The Bohn text, reprinted again and again despite the deteriorating condition of the steel plates, represents a moment of Victorian yearning for a lost innocence, a world of transgressive pleasure and comic outings into the unfamiliar, in which accident, nuisance and misadventure, rather than urban crisis, were the dominant ideas. In order to construct this particular text, Wallis (and then Bohn) reduced Seymour’s stock of 180 available images to 86, largely eliminating images of urban meetings and street culture in favour of the comic sportsmen through which Seymour had built his reputation. Indeed, reading the original Tregear edition, or even the 1846 R.B. Peake version, a very different London emerges – a teeming world of street collisions and urban presences – scavengers, dustmen, sweeps, draymen and the like – largely rendered through grotesque caricature modes, and, increasingly, depicting a domestic as well as a street culture. It is this world of sometimes claustrophobic urban-ness that Seymour counterposes against the country adventures of his less than sophisticated urban escapees and seekers of rural delight.
In the complex history of this illustrated text, then, we can see a struggle between competing meanings in Seymour’s images, with an early Victorian sense of the market-place insisting that the urban grotesque should give way to a more gentle comedy of reversal, out-of-placeness, and mutual incomprehension between the city and the country. Yet even in the Bohn edition some lingering sense of a caricature version of the city emerges, built out of accidents, collisions, inconveniences and nuisances, mainly experienced on the streets but with an increasing interest in the domestic and cultural lives of the relatively poor. Yet this version of the city is also theatrical, visually stimulating, characterised by grotesque yet engaging physicality, and essentially benign. This picturesque and picaresque city imagined by the caricaturists of the 1820s and 1830s, despite the level of mediation that often accompanied its presence in later nineteenth century visual culture, was startlingly available to later Victorian consumers. Another important and widely known book with its origins in visual culture but with an added interpretative text that ordered a sequence of graphic images into something with more narrative drive and social explication, Douglas Jerrold’s and Kenny Meadows’s Heads of the People was first published with its full text in 1838, but repeatedly reprinted with at least one edition dating from the late 1870s (Bryce 1841, Routledge 1878). Interestingly in this case the original plates, intended as Dickensian illustrations, were given tremendous added gravitas by being turned into urban ‘types’ by the addition of commissioned essays, another example of the way in which later Victorian literary culture stressed the importance of the verbal in annotating and explaining the visual response to urban culture. Several of George Cruikshank’s oblong folios of miscellaneous caricatures from the 1820s and 1830s, including Scraps and Sketches and Illustrations of Time, were reprinted in the 1870s and 1880s, and the highly topical (and still under-rated) Comic Almanack (1835-1853) was re-issued in collected two volume format by John Camden Hotten late in the century. Another key antiquarian/scholar, Charles Hindley, assembled a reprint Gallery of Comicalities for Reeves and Turner which drew together images by the Cruikshanks and Seymour originally published in Bell’s Life in London and Mornings at Bow Street. In the 1880s, Simpkin Marshall distributed bulging compilations of admittedly poor quality images drawn from Cruikshank and Leech’s copious work. Edward Moxon did a similar job in 1870 for Thomas Hood with Whimsicalities, A Periodical Gathering, although Hood himself and his son had already proved adept at reprinting and re-issuing much of the author’s graphic work – and, indeed, the Whimsicalities itself had been re-issued by Colburn as early as 1846 under the somewhat deceptive title of The Comic Annual for 1846. The enthusiasm of Victorian bookbuyers for the lost world of Regency urban graphic comedy needs further study.
The 1846 versions of 92 of the Sketches with a text by R.B. Peake offer a number of bibliographical difficulties. There seem to have been at least three versions of this text. The ‘authorised’ version seems to have been Seymour’s Humorous Sketches comprising ninety two caricature etchings illustrated in prose by R.B. Peake, published by George Routledge in 1846. But the same year also saw the appearance of An Evening’s Amusement of the Adventures of a Cockney Sportsman, by R.B. Peake, Esq., illustrated with ninety two plates by Seymour which was published without a publisher’s imprint, thus suggesting a possible piracy or an edition with the text and plates sold on by Routledge. I have also seen a bookseller’s advertisement for Snobson’s Seasons, Being Annuals of Cockney Sports, again with 92 plates and published by M.A. Nattali without a date. These disparate titles offer differing emphases, the first stressing Seymour’s plates as the main attraction, the other two marketing the book largely through the appeal of hapless cockney encounters with the unfamiliar world of country sports and pastimes, suggesting not just a town/country clash of values but also, to some extent, a class one with the urban ilk seeking the pleasures of the rural gentry and yeomen. In both the dated copies, the text remains the same, and the two books seem to have been printed off the same type although on different paper. But the plates are different, and many of the same plates are printed at slightly different moments within the text, an interesting variation given the close relationship between images and text suggested by the Routledge edition where the plates are ‘illustrated in prose’ by the text – thus suggesting a simple verbalisation of the images strung into some sort of sequence.
[22f i]
[22f i] Title Page
The Routledge text is prefaced by a single one of the five volume title page plates used in the Tregear edition, while the other 1846 text uses two. The various R.B. Peake editions all use more plates than the Crowquill texts, although, of course, all the text based versions of the Sketches use only half of the images available in the original issues. Peake was an interesting choice of author to be commissioned to re-work Seymour’s graphic images as an extended narrative. He was a prolific playwright best known nowadays for writing the first stage version of Frankenstein called Presumption in 1823, and for serving as one of the models for the character of a writer who adapted works for the stage in Nicholas Nickleby. His book The Bottle Imp (1828) may well have influenced Robert Louis Stevenson. By the 1840s he was something of a veteran professional writer, and still contributing articles and stories to the likes of Ainsworth’s Magazine and Bentley’s Miscellany. He may well have come across Seymour while contributing to the Comic Magazine in 1832. His interest in adapting texts from one medium to another – as well as Frankenstein he had dramatised Samuel Warren’s novel Ten Thousand a Year – may well have been seen as a useful qualification for undertaking the Sketches.
[22b] Humorous Sketches [180 lithographed plates] (G.S.Tregear 5 volumes n.d. but perhaps 1837 or 1838). Printed on coloured paper, and presumably sold as single plates as well as in volume form. 10/6d. per volume.
[22b i]
[22b i]
[22b ii]
[22b ii]
[22b iii]
[22b iii]
[22b iv]
[22b iv]
[22b v]
[22b v]
When G.S.Tregear re-published the Sketches in volume form [22b] he gave each volume a separate title page. The five title pages above offer some fine images that sum up Seymour's interests and identity as a caricaturist. Volume 1 shows a group of panic stricken sportsmen both running away and hiding themselves from the comic artist who wants 'to take off our heads' - a characteristically complex verbal and visual pun on the satrical artist's role. Volumes 3 and 5 offer further commentary on Seymour's engagement with rural sports. Volume 3 caricatures the three classic sportsmen - fisherman, jockey and shot - gathered round an oversized volume of the Sketches and about to enjoy the images. The oversized heads on each of the sportsmen's bodies is both grotesque and joyous, with the fisherman's tangled line and the amused dog in the background adding to the air of carnivalesque abandon. The title page for volume 5 alludes to the several emblematic title pages that Seymour had previously drawn for books on cricket, sports and angling. Volumes 2 and 4 are prefaced by self-referential images that show the artist as spectator at a fair sideshow and as a kind of magic lantern observer of contemporary manners. All five title pages show an energy, visual richness and self-consciousness that represents Seymour at his best.
[22c] 1841 Seymour’s Humorous Sketches [86 etched plates] (Henry Wallis. With ‘Crowquill’s’ text added).
[22d] 1841 Seymour’s Humorous Sketches [86 plates] (Henry G. Bohn) Second edition of c). ‘Illustrated in Prose and Verse by Alfred Crowquill’. Some of the plates in this edition still bear the legend ‘etched by H.Wallis from a sketch by Seymour’. Reprinted in (at least) 1866, 1872, 1878, and 1888 either under the imprint of Bohn or T.Miles). The 1866 Bohn edition adds in Bohn’s biography of Seymour and an extensive ‘Descriptive List of the Plates’ ascribing them to various groupings.
See illustrations: [22d i] | [22d ii] | [22d iii]  
[22e] 1846 Seymour’s Humorous Sketches comprising ninety two caricature etchings illustrated in prose by R.B.Peake [92 plates] (George Routledge). A different selection of plates than the Wallis/Bohn editions). My copy has Snobson’s Seasons on the half-title. I have also seen a bookseller’s listing of an undated Snobson’s Seasons, Being Annuals of Cockney Sport [92 plates] (M.A.Nattali n.d.). ‘Snobson’s Seasons’ is the title of one of the sections of the book. [22e i] 
[22f]  [1846] An Evening’s Amusement or the Adventures of a Cockney Sportsman, by R.B.Peake, Esq., illustrated with ninety two plates by Seymour [92 plates] (No publisher given) Possibly a piracy of e) or the result of Routledge selling e) on. The 1880 Frederick Bentley edition of the Sketches appears to be based on this edition. [22f i]
[22g]  N.d. [1880] Seymour’s Humorous Sketches – Ninety-Seven Caricature Etchings (Frederick Bentley).
See illustrations: [22g i] | [22g ii] | [22g iii] 

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Later book illustration 1834-1836 – mainly Dickens

[23] n.d. [c.1834] Seymour’s Comic Album; or, Museum of Entertainment: A Perennial of Fun. The illustrations, designed by Robert Seymour and engraved on wood by Samuel Slader (William Kidd n.d.). [23 i – v]

Despite being advertised as a ‘perennial’ there appears to have only been one issue of Seymour’s Comic Album. The volume’s lack of success can be easily attributed to its lack-lustre contents and format. The short Preface tries to draw upon similarities to the Odd Volume as a major selling point, but the contents of the Album largely comprise reprinted magazine articles ([23 iii] gives the place of first publication for one borrowed article), anecdotes and stories feebly illustrated by Seymour’s hasty small vignettes, occasionally augmented by a few full page and more fully realised wood engravings. The volume appeared in ‘Kidd’s Entertaining Library’, another short lived venture by a publisher notorious for his ‘borrowings’ and poor relationships with his authors and illustrators – he was designated a ‘thief’ by George Cruikshank.
Kidd clearly used Seymour for a number of his projects, but this one seems never to have taken off. The small volume was published in blind stamped publisher’s cloth with decorative paper titles. [23 i] ‘The Omnibus’, printed between pages 83 and 89, was taken from Dickens’s piece ‘The Bloomsbury Christening’, which had appeared in the Monthly Magazine N.S. 17 (May 1834) 375-386. It has an accompanying Seymour illustration. [23 v] See D.DeVries, Dickens’s Apprentice Years, 150.
See illustrations: [23 i] | [23 ii] | [23 iii] | [23 iv] | [23 v]
[24] 1835 ‘Figaro in London’ [Henry Mayhew] A Short Account of a Short Administration (London: George Cowie 1835). 15 woodcuts by Seymour. A publication linked to Seymour’s work for the periodical Figaro in London. (see [36] below).
[25] 1836 Thomas K.Hervey The Book of Christmas (William Spooner).nEveritt describes this book as very rare but nonetheless containing some of Seymour’s best work.
[26] 1836 Seymour illustrated Dickens’s ‘The Tuggs’s at Ramsgate’ in April 1836 in the Library of Fiction. This piece was not reprinted in Sketches by Boz until the combined edition in parts from 1837-1839.
[27] 1836 (March/April). The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.

Seymour drew the design for the pictorial wrapper for the first issue of The Pickwick Papers (Chapman and Hall March 31st. 1836). He also drew for seven etchings published in the first two part issues of the novel (4 in the March 31st. issue and three in issue 2, April 30th. 1836). [27 i] and [27 ii], taken from an 1837 Chapman and Hall edition, show the first two Seymour plates. Two further sketches by Seymour, one an alternative to 7 and the other a design for an unexecuted etching 8 are given in facsimile by Grego (1, 87-89), as are alternative designs for etching 5, which was eventually published as Phiz’s copy of Seymour’s design. (Grego 1, 71-77). I make no attempt here to reduplicate, or to arbitrate between, the many accounts of Seymour’s involvement in the genesis and publication of The Pickwick Papers. See Secondary Sources for a number of accounts of Seymour’s contribution to the book. [20], [45] and [47] all contain images that at one time or another have been claimed as pre-figuring the figure of Mr. Pickwick. Seymour’s Pickwick illustrations, including his frontispiece and title page, were also to be found in many American editions of the novel from the 1830s and 1840s. [27 iii] shows Seymour’s first Pickwick plate adapted as the frontispiece for an 1838 American edition.
See illustrations: [27 i] | [27 ii] | [27 iii] 
[28] 1835/6 Squib Annual of Poetry, Politics and Personalities for 1836 (Chapman and Hall). [28 i –vi]

Seymour contributed twelve small full page etchings very much in the Comic Almanack idiom. One illustration (‘The Silent System’ p. 29) forms one of the images that Dickensians have used to argue for the foreshadowing of the Pickwick stereotype in Seymour’s work. [28 iv28 v] While small in scale, miscellaneous in content and issued in printed paper boards, The Squib Annual is a slightly more up-market production than, say, [10] or [23]. Seymour’s etchings are full page and framed in a double rule, and the book was issued by Chapman and Hall, a mainstream publisher rather than a specialist in small-scale illustrated texts aimed to catch a passing fancy or a Christmas gift-book market. Chapman and Hall were also, of course, the first publishers of Pickwick. The printed boards [28 i] provide the most spectacular design, with the front cover illustration constructing the word ‘squib’ out of tiny but extremely cleverly drawn human bodies. The content, too, was more overtly political and serious than most contemporary comic annuals and albums, and Seymour’s images here retain more of a caricature feel, comparable to the wood engravings he was producing at the same time for The Political Almanack.
See illustrations: [28 i] | [28 ii] | [28 iii] | [28 iv] | [28 v] | [28 vi] 
[29] 1836 The Political Almanack for 1836 (Effingham Wilson). [29 i – vi]

Thirteen humorous illustrations by Robert Seymour, unusual in their direct allusion to the single plate caricature tradition of highly coded, extensively verbalised topical political commentary. The Political Almanack worked in complex ways to superimpose the ‘political’ on the informational elements of the almanac. Most of the content of the Political Almanack is at first glance traditionally a-political, especially given that its publisher, Effingham Wilson, was well known for bringing out controversial, liberal, or even radical works. He would also have known Seymour through the early publication of New Readings of Old Authors six years before. The monthly calendar, for instance, was filled out with trite and unexceptional moral exhortations – ‘folly is a fatal enemy’ the 12th. December informs the reader, while ‘glory follows action’ according to March 19th. Also to be found is the range of factual information traditional to the almanac. But, of course, the editors of almanacs were well aware that the choice of what information to offer their readers was a highly political one. Thus, among the detail of stamp duty and the commercial year, a list of the House of Peers included not just names and titles but also numbers of livings held by each lord and the pensions they received. It was through such an accumulation of detailed information rather than any outspoken editorial intervention or political commentary that the Political Almanack managed to construct a model of the British nation built out of taxes, privileges and petty oppressions. But, while such selection of cumulative information provided one way in which almanacs politicised themselves and positioned their readers, the Political Almanack’s more inventive and spectacular appropriation of the political was through the introduction of a new type of almanac page opposite the monthly chart comprising a poem acting as an extended caption to a wood engraved caricature.
[29 ii]
[29 ii] Title Page
The Political Almanack
In effect this was a kind of page borrowed from the circumambient mass of visual culture, more specifically the comic annuals, jeux d’esprit, and miscellanies illustrated by vignette wood engravings by the likes of Robert Cruikshank, and a rapidly increasing popular element in the print market-place. But in commissioning Robert Seymour to draw these explicitly political satires in the busy, detailed, emblematic manner of single plate etched and engraved caricature inherited from the eighteenth century, the Political Almanack broke new ground. Normally the use of the vignette wood engraving for political commentary had led artists, and C.J. Grant and Seymour in particular, to simplify their images into single joke, linear images using the thick black line of the woodcut to make emphatic and easily read-off commentary on events of the day, as Seymour had famously done in his illustrations for Gilbert à Beckett’s periodical Figaro in London. But in the Political Almanack, Seymour attempted something far more difficult – he tried to bring the complexity, allusiveness, verbalness and graphic codes of the eighteenth century etched and engraved caricature tradition into the tiny compass of the vignette wood engraving, and to combine these vignettes with an extended satirical verbal commentary.
[29 iv]
[29 iv] ‘August measures for august personages’
Seymour’s image for August [29 iii – iv] provides a clear example of such complexity and allusiveness. In the foreground, the well fed and well padded wife of the ‘Manor’s Lord’ (representing here both the affluent farmer and the greedy Government) sweeps out of the picture bearing off for her own purposes a rich swathe of ironically labelled ‘gleanings for the people’. The harvesting scene in the background, where an emblematically dressed peer and clergyman pitchfork hay off a wagon, shows through attached labels how the labour and productivity of the mass of population is siphoned off through unjust taxes – thus the sheaf of corn in the middle distance represents the ‘taxes on knowledge’ through which topical printed matter was rendered too expensive ever to reach the hands of those who had most to gain from reading it. More complex still is the layered caption attached to the load of hay – ‘August measures for august personages’. There are two interdependent puns here, the first on ‘measure’ (at once both a bushel of corn and an Act of Parliament) and the second on ‘August’ (the month of plentiful harvesting that delivers profits only to those ‘august’ members of society who can control the ‘measures’ through which wealth is managed). This kind of visual and verbal density is clearly underpinned by the delicacy of the drawing and the tonal variety through which the image is rendered, and by the crowded graphics of the image. Both are underlined by the outspoken poem that re-renders the image through a verbal equivalent.
This image is at once traditional and radically new. It combines the forms and modes of the genteel discourse of eighteenth century visual satire, which was political in focus and outspoken in its critique of the ruling establishment and of ‘the old corruption’, with the new information culture of the 1830s. A political denunciation of a privileged and corrupt social elite is given a startling new form in the wood engraved vignette, a form which had been increasingly prominent in humorous print culture since the early 1820s. While the basis of the graphic satire contained in the vignette acknowledges its formal and methodological origins in etched and engraved single plate caricature, the miniaturisation of the image, its technical accomplishment, its accompanying poem and its startling juxtaposition against the traditional almanac chart of the month all point the almanac in a startling new direction. The incorporation of complex visual elements into the predominantly typographic construction of the distinctive almanac form is a major development. If in this case the address of the image remained essentially genteel, the liberation of the almanac from textuality represented by such experiments suggested that more demotic forms of visuality could be adduced to the traditional almanac form. Later publishers and entrepreneurs of print culture were not slow to understand such developments.
See illustrations: [29 i] | [29 ii] | [29 iii] | [29iv] | [29 v] | [29 vi] 
[30] [n.d. but c. 1836] Kidd’s Golden Key to the Treasures of Knowledge (William Kidd n.d.). ‘A Cabinet of Literary Gems, in the form of a Pocket-Dictionary’. Advertised in Kidd’s list at the back of a copy of [31] as being ‘beautifully illustrated by George and Robert Cruikshank, Seymour, and Bonner’. This claim must be taken with some caution given Kidd’s proclivity for claiming well known illustrators for his publications. [30 i] There is no entry in Cohn for this book as belonging to the George Cruikshank canon, and I haven’t been able to find a copy to check whether there are signed illustrations by Seymour.
[31] [n.d. but pre 1838] ‘Quiz, junior’ Characteristic Sketches of Young Gentlemen (Published for the author by William Kidd n.d.). [31 i – iv] While presenting a range of bibliographical problems, there is an edition of this title that contains a frontispiece ‘The Dandified Young Gentleman – A Wrinkle’ which is signed ‘RS’ and entirely in Seymour’s style. [31 ii] The image had already appeared in The Odd Volume [10] [10 vi] as Seymour’s work. Given Seymour’s close relationship with Kidd, there seems little reason to doubt that this illustration and the unsigned title page vignette are by Seymour. Thus the volume may well have been published early in the 1830s when Seymour was offering Kidd a lot of his work. Confusion here is caused by Dickens’s early anonymous publication Sketches of Young Gentlemen, which was brought out in February 1838 by Chapman and Hall with illustrations by Hablot Browne (‘Phiz’). As with Kidd’s publication, Dickens’s book had been announced as a ‘Companion to Sketches of Young Ladies’, a book in a similar format and with Browne illustrations, written by the Rev. Edward Caswell under the ‘Quiz junior’ pseudonym.
In September 1838 Kidd accused Dickens, very publicly, with having plagiarised the title and some of the content of his earlier publication. The details for this incident can be found in ed. M.House and G.Storey, The Letters of Charles Dickens, Vol 1: 1820-1839 (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1965), 354, 434. In the footnotes in the Dickens Letters on p.434, the editors assert that Kidd’s volume was illustrated by Cruikshank. I have not found a copy where this is the case, nor is the book listed by Cohn as containing work by George Cruikshank. While Kidd’s book is undated, the advertisement leaves in the copy I have seen talk of the ‘late Robert Seymour’ in relation to Seymour’s Comic Album, which would again point to an earlier date of publication than 1838.
See illustrations: [31 i] | [31 ii] | [31 iii] | [31 iv]  
[32] [n.d. c. 1836-38] Kidd’s Comic Scrapbook and Parlour Portfolio consisting of a variety of exquisite illustrations from the pencils of George and Robert Cruikshank, and the late Robert Seymour. Again advertised in [26] and another of Kidd’s publications that may or may not contain genuine work by Seymour. Not listed in Cohn.

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.

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Caricature series

The following list is merely the beginnings of a proper account of Seymour’s more extended series of comic engravings, and is not as yet linked to illustrations of these works. It is hoped to develop this section of the site more fully over the next few months.
[47] 1829 Search After the ‘Comfortable’, Being the Adventures of a Little Gentleman of Fortune (T. McClean July 1st. 1829) BMC 15983-15988.

 6 etched oblong folio plates containing fifty captioned vignettes issued in paper wrappers, price 12s. coloured. i. Frolic and Fashion ii. Rural Retirement iii. Arts and Sciences iv. Travelling v. Travelling vi. Courtship. Cf. George Cruikshank Scraps and Sketches part 3. The idea of the ‘comfortable’ may well derive from the comedian Mathews and his stage depiction ‘At Home’, a sketch that characterised and to some extent satirised smug domesticity. The central character is Peter Pickle, and BMC suggests this may be a proto-Pickwick figure, who undergoes a series of picaresque adventures which culminate in him marrying someone he thinks of as a rich widow, but who turns out to have five unattractive children and not to be rich. This is certainly shifting a long way towards a narrative sequence.
[48] 1829 The March of Intellect (Thomas McClean) Six etched coloured plates, oblong folio, 12s.

Overall these plates contain 36 vignette illustrations under the six plate titles of ‘Fashionable’, ‘Mechanical’, ‘Philosophical’, ‘Philanthropical’, Professional’ and ‘Political’. This set of images furthers Seymour’s sustained interest in the ‘March of Intellect’ as a topic. A number of his single plate etchings focussed on the cultural and social aspirations of working people, and he drew the topic with enormous emblematic complexity and a deep awareness of the tropes through which the movement towards popular literacy and cultural engagement were being represented in the late 1820s. Examples of Seymour’s versions of this topic can be easily found on line at the Lewis Walpole Library Digital Archive, finding numbers 829.0.15 and 829.0.16. 
[49] c.1830 Trip to Margate (Thomas McClean) 6 coloured plates, 15s. Not seen - advertised in an 1830 copy of The Heiress.
[50] 1830 The Heiress – A Farce in Six Plates (T. McClean 1830).

Six oblong folio etchings issued in printed paper covers. The six plates inThe Heiressform an exemplary narrative – a poor girl being brought up by her uncle and aunt unexpectedly inherits wealth, undergoes transformation into a society belle, willingly enough, is wooed by a feckless and impecunious major and runs off to Gretna Green to marry him, pursued as he is by debt collectors. Each plate has a large central image that carries the dominant narrative, and offers the occasion for lightly satirical depictions of society events, manners and fashions. These central images are surrounded by smaller vignettes satirising the hangers-on, opportunists and pseudo-helpful people who swarm round the heiress to usher her into society, and, of course, to take her money. The overall effect is remarkably novelistic, with the smaller images acting as sub-plots or picturesque ‘character studies’ to the central narrative. There is also a sense in which this a lighter hearted version of the Hogarthian moral narrative translated into the medium of the multi-image oblong folio plates characteristic of caricature publishing in the 1820s. There is something of a dialogue between narrative and the miscellany going on here.
[51] 1830 The Omnibus (Thomas McClean May 1st. 1830).

Six oblong folio coloured etchings issued in printed paper covers. All plates dated May 1st. 1830 except for plate 6 ‘The Turnip Field’ which is dated March 6th. 1830, suggesting a previous issue as a single publication. The subtitle printed on the paper covers runs – ‘What sort of company go in the omnibus?’ ‘O! All sorts’. Thus the title is used to suggest both the miscellaneous gathering up of disparate elements in one common place but also the ‘democracy’ or Clapham omnibus ordinariness of the images. The etchings differ markedly in form. Four of the plates are multi-image mixtures of jokes and comments, but two offer spectacular large single plate images. The multi-image plates are characteristically miscellaneous. One plate (plate 5) has a series of gently comic images of seaside holidays, each image ascribed to a different south coast resort. Other images are built out of visual/verbal puns and slapstick jokes: an over-polite and fastidious man lifts his hat to the ladies on the promenade and the basin containing his lunch falls and is smashed; a foppish man knocks on a door on behalf of a washerwoman returning washing in an enormous basket on her head that means she can’t herself get near enough to the door to knock; a charitable but misguided woman offers pair of stockings to an itinerant beggar with thin wooden legs; a customer at a bar jokes on the ‘sour as a lemon’ aspect of the barmaid by asking to ‘give her a squeeze’; ‘Looking out for squalls’ shows a mother trying to control three babies given to individual protest. The two single image plates are both spectacular. The first is an anti-gambling image. The central, highly finished part of the image shows a ruined gambler turning away from the tables and being pressed by those he owes money too. This theatrical central image is set in a plush club full of appropriately dissipated, dissolute and greedy gamblers. Round the central part of the image is set an enveloping spider’s web pattern, suggesting how the gambler has been caught up by predators. Thinly drawn skeletal figures, draped on gossamer threads round their necks suggesting both suicide and hanging, inhabit the web in both a ghostly and ghastly presence. This is a really powerful image, and would make a fantastic illustration to a book on Seymour. The second single plate is called ‘The Turnip Field’, with a big broadside like image above an elaborate narrative description of the event depicted. A ‘semi-intoxicated man’ in Northampton announced that the parson had given ‘a field of fine turnips’ to the poor. The next morning the poor, grotesquely depicted, were helping themselves when the vicar and his man rode into them and started whipping them away. It had been an elaborate joke and roused the vicar to fury, as he had by the time he intervened, lost most of his crop. As well as a description of the rural grotesque and carnivalesque, the plate acts as a critique of clerical greed and possessiveness – little charity is visible here. Thus theOmnibusbrings together curiously disparate images – outspoken social outrage, anti-clerical protest mounted in traditional caricature form, and more genial jokes and puns organised into multi-image gatherings on single plates. The conflicting caricature modes of the time are accurately represented in this cross-genre gathering.
[52] 1830 Living Made Easy – dedicated to the Utilitarian Society (Thomas McClean 1830).

An American version of this twelve plate oblong folio series of lithographs was published in New York by E. S. Mesier in 1832. A series of satires that combine an amused scepticism over the ‘March of Intellect’ with a much more acerbic commentary on social inequality, and the ways in which mechanical invention might be driven by the needs of genteel hedonism and laziness. One image shows labourers who have been driven out of work but who are of good industrious character being allowed to sniff the laden dinner tables of the rich. This print is ‘Particularly recommended to the Philanthropy of those who have made large fortunes by Machinery’. Other imagined contrivances to make the lives of the rich more indolent include an undressing mechanism to aid the sleepy on their way to bed.
[53] 1834  The Schoolmaster Abroad [9 plates oblong folio]

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Seymour’s posthumous publications

[54] n.d. Seymour’s Pictorial Legacy, Being the Life and Adventures of Hippins Hiphippins, Esq. edited by ‘Larkspur,’ and illustrated by the only original drawings of Seymour that have not yet been published, etched on copper by ‘Steel’. A flyer for this work exists [54 i] and states that ‘This work is published monthly by Messrs. Sherwood, Gilbert, &; Piper, Paternoster Row, and will consist of twenty numbers, price One Shilling each.’ I have, however, found no evidence that the work was ever published. This work may have been one of several attempts to help Seymour’s family after his suicide. See also [21a ] and [53].
[54 i]
[54 i] Flyer
[55] n.d. [c.1836-1838] Selections from Seymour [55 i – iii]After Seymour’s death, a number of lithographic printers and print dealers seem to have tried to help Seymour’s family, and a series of images were issued by the lithographic printers and print sellers Tregear and Lewis under the general title of ‘Selections from Seymour’. Some of these prints were issued in colour while others were printed on coloured paper. They were based on plates from the Sketches, but printed on larger sheets.
See illustrations: [55 i] | [55 ii] | [55 iii]  

Later collections

[56] Gallery of Comicalities, Embracing Humorous Sketches by the Brothers Robert and George Cruikshank, Robert Seymour and Others (London: Charles Hindley n.d.).

A reprint of ‘Comicalities’ mainly published in Bell’s Life in London between 1827 and 1829. Includes ‘The Drunkard’s Progress, in Twelve Steps from Designs by Robert Seymour’ (c. 1829), and ‘The Pugilist’s Progress in Nine Steps’ signed by Seymour, both taken from Bell’s Life in London. See [35 ii – x].
[57] Robert Seymour Pictures (Humorous Masterpieces Series No. 4) (London: Gowans and Gray 1906).

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

Brian Maidment, University of Salford

Secondary Sources

Bohn, Henry G.  ‘Seymour’s Drawings’ Athenaeum (April 7 1866) 464.

Bohn, Henry G.  ‘Biographical Notice’ in various Bohn’s editions of Seymour’s Sketches.

Buss, R.W.   English Graphic Satire (Virtue & Co. n.d.).

Cohen, Jane R.  Dickens and his Original Illustrators (Columbus Ohio State University Press 1980) 39-50.

Cohn, Alfred M.  George Cruikshank – A Catalogue Raisonne (London: The Bookman 1924).

Cutler, Fred  ‘Robert Seymour: A Psycho-Historical Autopsy’ Omega 2 (August 1971) 195-214.

Ed. Brake, L. and Demoor, M.  Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism (London: British Library, Proquest and Academia 2009).

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Roe, F.Gordon   ‘Seymour, the ‘Inventor’ of Pickwick’ The Connoisseur 77 (February 1927) 67-71.

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Ed. Michael Slater   The Dent Uniform Edition of Dickens’s Journalism. Vol. 1 – Sketches by Boz and Other Papers (London: Dent 1994); Vol. 2 The Amusements of the People and Other Papers (London: Dent 1996).

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