Memorial: Robert Seymour
Erection date: 27/7/2010
Sacred to the memory of Mr Robert Seymour who died 20th April 1836, aged 38 years.
A nearby information board informs:
Probably the most prolific illustrator and cartoonist of his era, Seymour was the first artist ever to illustrate a work by Dickens when an extract from the tale 'The Bloomsbury Christening' was published in 'Seymour's Comic Album' (1834). Seymour is best known for his work as the original illustrator of Dickens's first novel 'The Pickwick Papers' and his 'Mr Pickwick Addresses the Club' (1836) which appeared in the first serial part of 'Pickwick' became, arguably, the most famous book illustration in the world. Many allusions to death occur in the pages of 'Pickwick', and shortly after completing 'The Dying Clown' for the work's second part Seymour shot himself. In his suicide note he wrote: "I hope my Creator will grant me peace in death, which I have prayed so for in vain while living."
He was buried in the graveyard of St Mary Magdalene Church, Islington, where his body remains, but his tombstone fell into disrepair in the late nineteenth century and was transferred to the church's crypt. In 2010, the stone was moved to the Charles Dickens Museum. Its position, near the cafe, is a reference to one of 'Pickwick's major themes: convivial eating.
This plaque was unveiled on 27th July 2010 by Michael Buss, great-great-grandson of R. W. Buss, Seymour's immediate successor as the 'Pickwick' artist.
The information board finishes with the two referenced illustrations.
In the Guardian article that alerted us to this "misplaced" gravestone you can see it was initially planted in the garden but, 2014, it was under plastic, awaiting restoration.
Site: Charles Dickens museum (4 memorials)
WC1, Doughty Street, Dickens Museum
All these memorials are in the back garden of the museum which is a tight space and, much as we'd like to, it's impossible to provide a photo with all four items in shot.