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Seymour's comic scrap sheets, c.1831

Scraps were sheets of paper with a series of printed illustrations, sold so that the buyer could cut out images and paste them into a book (hence the term 'scrapbook') or decorate an object with them. The images most associated with scraps date from the Victorian era and frequently feature frolicking children, fluffy animals and floral displays. These earlier versions from c.1831 take a less cutesy approach and instead contain reformist political cartoons, including images in support of the Reform Bill and attacks on the King, Tory politicians and the established church. The campaign for the abolition of slavery also gets an ambiguous nod, with an image disparagingly comparing the treatment of a caricatured black slave with the "starving white" Briton.

These sheets are included in a small collection of ephemera dating from 1761-1905 (document reference: MSS.21/3769).

Scraps