London: John Warren, 1821. Item #02287
Dedicated To The Eye Of The Connoiseur
DAGLEY, Richard (illustrator). [GASPEY, Thomas. author]. Takings; Or, The Life of a Collegian. A Poem. Illustrated by Twenty-Six Etchings, from Designs by R. Dagley. London: John Warren, 1821.
First edition. Octavo (10 1/8 x 6 3/8 ins; 258 x 162 mm.) xxxix, , 184 pp. Twenty-six hand-colored plates.
Publisher's original drab boards, expertly rebacked. Printed paper spine label. Untrimmed. Bookplate of John P. Kane. A fine copy.
Rare, the last copy to come to auction was in 1999. The poem was anonymously written by Thomas Gaspey (1788-1871).
"To the Admirers of those hasty Productions of the Pencil called Sketches, Gentlemen, In offering these subjects to your attention, I feel assured of every allowance on your part for their style of execution; and also that in your comments upon what the generality may call blots or scratches, you will lean to the favourable side, and pronounce them meaning and design. To those who are not gifted with your taste and feeling, I am aware the 'Takings' may not appear with all the advantage that I could wish; I must, therefore, request such persons to suspend their judgment till they have acquired that improved perception which finds an intentional grace, where ordinary vision sees only accident or deformity. The eye of the Connoisseur can penetrate the obscurity of redundant lines, separate their entanglements, and distinguish the latent shapes od beauty and vigour. In a scanty performance he can nevertheless discern the excellence which the artist contemplated" (Dagley, Dedication).
"Richard Dagley (d. 1841), genre painter and engraver, was an orphan and was educated at Christ's Hospital, London. Having an interest in art, and being delicate, he was apprenticed to Thomas Cousens, a jeweller, watchmaker, and sometime painter of ornaments and miniatures, whose daughter Elizabeth (b. 1755) he married on 2 November 1785 at St James's, Westminster. The couple had two sons, Edward (b. 1790) and Richard (b. 1791). Dagley was a friend of Henry Bone, with whom he worked enamelling views on the backs of watches and mythological compositions on bracelets, and painting eyes for rings and brooches, as was then the fashion. He exhibited irregularly at the Royal Academy from 1785 until 1833, mostly genre pictures. His career was similarly erratic. He made several medals and took to watercolour drawing. About 1805 he was working as a drawing-master in a lady's school in Doncaster, but was back in London from 1815.
"In 1818 he published A Compendium of the Theory and Practice of Drawing and Painting. Dagley reviewed books on art and, after the publication of his first book, Gems Selected from the Antique in 1804, with plates designed and engraved by him, he worked as an illustrator, most notably on Flim-Flams, a collection of anecdotes by Isaac D'Israeli, and for Takings, a humorous poem by Thomas Gaspey (1821). He also published books of his own engravings ‘illustrated’ in poetry or prose by others; his second volume on gems (1822) had poetry by Dr G. Croly and Death's Doings (1826) was a meditation on the arrival of death. Dagley's engraved work is often slight. As explained in the preface to Death's Doings: ‘I have endeavoured to show the way a certain class of writing may be embellished without incurring the expense of those laboured and highly finished engravings which make a work prohibitively expensive’. Dagley died in 1841" (Oxford DNB).
Not in Tooley, Abbey, Hardie or Bobins.