Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/466

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

Robert William Buss, whose etchings will be found in Mrs. Trollope's "Widow Married" (a sequel to her "Widow Barnaby"), which made its appearance in the "New Monthly Magazine" of 1839, and whose hand will also be found in Marryat's "Peter Simple," "Jacob Faithful," Harrison Ainsworth's "Court of King James II.," etc.. Although his designs lack the genius, the artistic power, the finish and the comic invention of Leech or Cruikshank, they show nevertheless that as an etcher and designer he was possessed of exceptional talent and ability. The first experience, however, of this able artist as an etcher was peculiarly unfortunate and vexatious.

When poor Seymour shot himself in 1836, the draughtsman first called in to supply his place was Robert William Buss. He had been recommended to Messrs. Chapman and Hall by John Jackson, the wood-engraver, but does not seem at that time to have had any practical experience of etching, as he himself explained to the member of the firm who called upon him. Mr. Buss, in fact, was decidedly indisposed to undertake the work, being then engaged on a picture he was preparing for exhibition, and he undertook it only after considerable pressure. He immediately began to practise the various operations of etching and biting in, and produced a plate with which the publishers expressed themselves satisfied. Two subjects were then selected for illustration, The Cricket Match, and The Fat Boy Watching Mr. Tupman and Miss Wardle. When, however, Mr. Buss began to etch them on the plate, he found, having had little or no experience in laying his ground, that it holed up under the etching point; and as time was precious, he placed the plates in the hands of an experienced engraver to be etched and bitten in. Had opportunity been given him, his son (from whom we take this account) tells us he would have cancelled these plates and issued fresh ones of his own etching. Designs were prepared by him for the following number, when he received an intimation that the work of illustrating the "Pickwick Papers" had been placed in other hands. The illustrations referred to were suppressed, and the collectors who are so anxious to secure an edition with the two "Buss plates," will be pleased to learn that,