Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/292

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Decidedly next in order of merit to George Cruikshank, amongst his own contemporaries, if we except only Theodore Lane, comes Robert Seymour. With a style and manner peculiar to himself, and a power of invention and realization which amounted almost to genius, Seymour was superior in every respect to Robert Cruikshank, with whom we find him not unfrequently associated in comic design. This style and manner were clearly founded on those of George Cruikshank; and when he selected (as he not unfrequently did) subjects which had been treated by the latter, the work of this most able draughtsman will bear even favourable comparison with that of the great original whom he chose as his master. That he drew his inspiration from and sought even to emulate Cruikshank, is shown by the fact that to some of his earlier caricatures he affixed the name of "Shortshanks," a practice which he discontinued on receiving a remonstrance from the irritable George.

Robert Seymour was born in 1798. Henry Seymour, his father, a gentleman of good family in Somersetshire, meeting with misfortune, removed to London, and apprenticed him to Mr. Vaughan, a pattern designer of Duke Street, Smithfield. This Vaughan seems to deserve a passing notice here by reason of the fact that his father is said to have received proposals for partnership from the father of the late Sir Robert Peel, which were rejected, on the ground that the fortunes of the Peel family were not then considered particularly flourishing. How far this statement may be correct we know not Assuming it to be true, the fortunes of the Peel