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What the Dickens!: author in search for his 'holy grail' manuscript

PUBLISHED: 11:17 15 November 2007 | UPDATED: 14:38 07 September 2010

Stephen Jarvis with Robert Seymour illustrations

Stephen Jarvis with Robert Seymour illustrations

AN author is on the hunt for his Holy Grail – a missing manuscript relating to Charles Dickens which has not been seen for 80 years. Stephen Jarvis is trying to track down a deedbox which contains a 350-page unpublished manuscript about the artist and car

AN author is on the hunt for his Holy Grail - a missing manuscript relating to Charles Dickens which has not been seen for 80 years.

Stephen Jarvis is trying to track down a deedbox which contains a 350-page unpublished manuscript about the artist and cartoonist Robert Seymour, a close associate of Dickens.

Mr Jarvis believes the manuscript may be in Hampstead or Highgate and is desperate to track it down as he attemps to pen his own book about Seymour.

"I have little doubt that overall this is the most important archive of material relating to Seymour in the world," said Berkshire-based Mr Jarvis.

"I have been trying to track it down for about two years now. The deedbox really is the Holy Grail for my research."

Seymour is mostly remembered for his work on The Pickwick Papers, which he illustrated.

Relations between the two men are shrouded in mystery but in 1836, as The Pickwick Papers was being serialised, Seymour shot himself.

When the manuscript's author Rowland Morewood died it was passed down to his niece Emily Morewood but the last mention of it was in a magazine article in 1927.

Around that time an album of pictures collected by Mr Morewood was found by a print collector in a secondhand book shop in Bell Street, off Edgware Road.

Mr Jarvis believes whoever placed the album in the bookshop has the missing manuscript.

Readers who have any knowledge of where it might be can contact Mr Jarvis at stephen jarvis@hotmail.com.

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