Skip to main content
Grolier Club Exhibitions

Some Account of Brother Robert, Robert Seymour, and a Few Members of London’s Younger Generation of Caricaturists

Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856)


Lessons of Thrift, Published for General Benefit, by a Member of the Save-All Club. London: Printed for Thomas Boys of Ludgate Hill. 1820. Written by John Wilson Roy Crawford; with 12 hand-colored etchings designed and etched by I.R. Cruikshank.

Plate at page 30: “The Lord High Chancellor of France,” Publ. by Thomas Boys, of Ludgate Hill, London, Dec. 3, 1819.

Robert Seymour (1798-1836)


The School Master Abroad. By One of the Old School. With illustrations by R. Seymour. Published by Thos. McLean, 26, Haymarket, Sepr. 22, 1834; Ducote & Stevens, Lithographers, 70, St. Martins Lane, London.

Nine hand-colored lithographs satirizing Lord Brougham and his educational schemes. The letterpress is also Seymour’s. This gorgeous album was preceded by The Schoolmaster at Home, published by Benjamin Steill in June 1832, also a satire on Brougham’s views on education.

Plate 1: “The School Master Setting Forth on His Tour.” R. Seymour del. London: Pubd. January 1st, 1832, by Thos McLean, 26 Hay-Market. Printed by Meifred Lemercier & Co., 24 Leicester Square.

Sketches by Seymour. Vol. I- [Vol. 5] in one volume. Published by G.S. Tregear, 96 Cheapside, London. [1836].

36 plates on different-colored tinted paper in each volume, including etched title pages. A series of comic etchings depicting hunting expeditions of over-equipped and under-trained Cockneys, which formed the basis for Seymour’s proposal to Chapman and Hall in 1836, leading to the publication of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.

No. 15, Vol. 2, “Another pigeon, egad I’m in luck’s way this morning.”

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. By Charles Dickens. With forty-three illustrations, by R. Seymour and Phiz. London: Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand. MDCCCXXXVII. First book edition. Extra-illustrated. Includes the original 4 plates by Seymour, 2 plates by Robert Buss, the remainder by Phiz (Hablot Browne). Many of the latter are in two states. Bound in are 21 plates by Thomas Onwyhn (1814-1886), many of which are signed Samuel Weller.

“The Election” by Phiz [Hablot Browne] at page 132.

The idea for Pickwick was brought to Chapman and Hall in fall 1835 by Seymour, whose concept was for a group of illustrated anecdotes making fun of newly rich gentlemen wanting to up their place in society by participating in such country sporting activities as hunting, fishing, and shooting. It was to be based on his popular five-volume series, Sketches by Seymour. The publishers approached young Dickens to see if he would supply the letterpress. He accepted, but made clear that he would not write the hack text as proposed, but stories to be illustrated. Thus, the order of the creative process was reversed: the author would tell the story, the artist would provide the illustrations. As might be anticipated, the relationship between artist and author quickly deteriorated. In April 1836, after Seymour had illustrated the first two installments of Pickwick, and only days after arguing with Dickens over his latest illustration, Seymour shot himself.

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

An Essay on the Genius of [Portrait and signature of George Cruikshank]. By W. M. Thackeray. NP. Extra Illustrated copy of a 60-page article written by Thackeray for The Westminster Review, Volume XXXIV, Number 1, 1840, probably assembled in 1870-1872. Bound in are 113 additional full-page plates bearing 125 etchings by Cruikshank from published books with the dates ranging from 1810 to 1870.

This essay was Thackeray’s great tribute to his older colleague and mentor whose popularity had begun to wane by 1840.

John Leech (1817-1864)


The Ingoldsby Legends, or Mirth and Marvels, By Thomas Ingoldsby, Esq. With Sixty Illustrations by George Cruikshank, John Leech and John Tenniel. London. Richard Bentley, Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty. 1864. Third edition. 

Plate at page 86: “The Confession.” Signed by J. Leech. London: Richard Bentley, 1841.

Follies of the Year, by John Leech. A Series of Coloured Etchings from Punch’s Pocket Books - 1844-1864. With Some Notes by Shirley Brooks. Bradbury, Evans & Co., Bouverie Street, E.C. [1866].


“Fashions of 1844.”

Percy Cruikshank (1827-1880); Watts Phillips (1825-1874)

The Palace of Glass; London in 1851. Designed by Watts Phillips and Percy Cruikshank. Drawn and Etched by Watts Phillips. Published by Ackermann & Co. 96 Strand. [1851]. In leporello format.

The etchings are much livelier than those in Cruikshank’s, The Adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys and Family Who Came up to London to Enjoy Themselves and to See the Great Exhibition, published by David Bogue the same year. As can be seen from this image, Phillips played on Londoners’ distaste of the hordes of foreigners arriving for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Percy Cruikshank was Robert Cruikshank’s son, who often tried to ride coattails on his uncle’s fame. Watts Phillips, an illustrator, novelist and playwright, studied etching with George Cruikshank and remained a friend of his for the rest of his life.

Some Account of Brother Robert, Robert Seymour, and a Few Members of London’s Younger Generation of Caricaturists