London: Published by Dighton, Charing Cross, 1801. Item #05527
Robert Dighton (1752-1814) Actor, Artist and Printseller
A Superb Collection of Forty Hand Colored Etched Plates
Depicting some famous and some not so famous late eighteenth century characters
DIGHTON, Robert. [A Collection of Forty Caricature Portraits of Public Characters]. London: Published by Dighton, Charing Cross, 1801-1812.
Folio (12 7/8 x 10 1/8 inches; 327 x 257 mm.). Forty superb hand colored etched plates.
Contemporary quarter red morocco over marbled boards, smooth spine ruled in gilt. Minor wear to board extremities. With the small pink paper binders ticket "Cherry/Bookbinder/Wellington" [Somerset, UK].
1. “A View from Oriel College, Oxford” (May 1808) "Dr. Eveleigh" - plate watermarked 1800. (Rose p.38).
2. “A Noble Commander from South Gloucester… Steyne in Brighton” (Dec. 1801) "Lord Berkeley" (Rose p.37).
3. “A View from Trinity College, Cambridge” (Jan. 10 1810) "Bishop of Bristol" (Rose p.39).
4. “The Father of the Corporation of Oxford. Omnibus Carus” (March 1808) "Alderman Fletcher" (Rose p.39).
5. “A View from the Swan Brewhouse Oxford” (June 12, 1807) "Mr. Hall" (Rose p.38).
6. “A View from Jesus College, Oxford” (May 1808), "Dr. Hughes" (Rose p.38).
7. “Agamemnon A Great General. Taken on the Steyne at Brighton” (Jan. 1, 1804) "General Dalrymple" (Rose p.38).
8. “A View Taken from Christ Church Meadows Oxford” (May 1807) "Drs. Jackson & Webber" (Not in Rose).
9. “A View Taken at Oxford” (Jan. 1808), "Mr. Smith" (Rose p.38).
10. “The Classical Almamater Coachman Oxford” (Jan. 1808) "Mr. Brobart" (Rose p.39).
11. “The-Late-Right Revd. Dr. Samuel Horsley, Lord Bishop of St Asaph” (December 1809) (Not in Rose).
12. “The Principal Arch of Lambeth Palace” (Jan. 1808) "Dr. Moore" (Not in Rose).
13. “A Master Parson & His Journeyman” (May 1812) (Rose p.39).
14. “A View of Somerset” [Duke of Somerset] (Dec. 1811) (Rose p.39).
15. “A View from Peter House, Cambridge” (Jan. 1810) "Dr. Barnes" (Rose p.39).
16. “A Noble Duke. Taken on the Steyne at Brighton” (Nov. 1801) "Duke of Grafton" (Rose p.37).
17. “A Celebrated Public Orator” (Jan. 1808) "Dr. Crow" Not in Rose).
18. [Dr. Parson, Oxford] (Feb. 1808) "Dr. Parson" (Rose p.38).
19. “A View from Merton College, Oxford” (June 1808) "Mr. Kilner"? (Rose p.38).
20. “The Major Part of the Town of Portsmouth” (Aug. 1807) "Major Ashurst" (Rose p.38).
21. “A Noble Student of Oxford” (Jan. 1808) "Lord Grenville" (Rose p.38).
22. “A View from St John’s College at Cambridge” (May 1809) "Dr. Wood" (Rose p.39).
23. “A View from the Pump Room, Bath” (Jan. 1809) "Genl. Dankin" (Rose p.39).
24. “A View from Merton College Oxford” (June 1808) "Dr. Killian"? (Not in Rose).
25. “A View from St Aldates Oxford” (Jan. 1808), "Dr. Grovenor" (Not in Rose).
26. “A View Taken from Bladuds Buildings, Bath” (Jan. 1809), "Counsellor Morris"? (Rose p.39).
27. “A Gloomy Day. Taken on the Steyne at Brighton” (Nov. 1801) "Mr. Day" (Rose p.37).
28. “A View Taken from Portland Place, Bath” (Jan. 1809) [Mr. Banks]. (Rose p.39).
29. “A View Taken from the Town Hall Oxford” (May 1807) "Mr. Taunton" (Rose p.38).
30. “A View from Magdalen Hall Oxford” (June 1808) "Dr. Ford" (Rose p.38).
31. “Sr David Dundas, KB, Commander in Chief” (April, 1810) (Rose p.39).
32. “A View from Brazen Nose College, Oxford” (May, 1808) "Dr. Cleaver" (Rose p.38).
33. “A View from Magdalen College, Cambridge” (June, 1809) "Dr. Grattan"? (Rose p.39).
34. “A First Rate Man of War, taken from the Dock Yard Plymouth” (Jany 1809) "Admiral Young" (Rose p.39).
35. “A View taken from Chatham Row, Bath” (Jany. 1809) "Dr. Shepherd" (Rose p.39).
36. “A View of a Temple near Buckingham” (July, 1811) "Marquiss of Buckingham" (Rose p.39).
37. “Ireland in Scotland, or a trip from Oxford to the land of Cakes” (June 1807) "Mr. Ireland" (Rose p.38).
38. “A View from Trinity College Oxford” (June, 1807) "Dr Kell" (Rose p.38).
39. “A View of the Telegraph, Cambridge” (May, 1809) "Dick Vaughan" (Rose p.39).
40. “A View from Baxter’s Livery Stables, Cambridge” (Jany. 1810) "Mr. Baxter" (Rose p.39).
Robert Dighton Senior was born c.1752 in London and died there in 1814. An English portrait painter, printmaker and caricaturist, he was the founder of a dynasty of artists who followed in his footsteps. He was the son of the London printseller John Dighton. As a boy his father's print shop must have been a big influence in his early life and he was, no doubt, very much acquainted with the caricatures of contemporary artists such as Gillray, Rowlandson, Sayer, Cruikshank and also of course with the great painter and satirist Hogarth.
In the 1770s he began acting and singing in plays at the Haymarket Theatre, Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells while at the same time training and exhibiting at the Royal Academy. He also exhibited at the Free Society of Artists between 1769-73. The first prints he designed were of actors for John Bell's edition of Shakespeare (1775-76). As an artist, he was first offered consistent employment by the publisher Carington Bowles (fl. 1752-93). This was the heyday of the so-called 'droll' mezzotint and Robert's output of designs, executed in watercolor and then engraved, was an integral part of his stock. Carington Bowles was among of the most active map-sellers of his day in London, which will explain Dighton’s caricature maps in his “Geography Bewitched” series, including Ireland, England and Wales , and Scotland. Much of Dighton's early work was issued anonymously, but by the early 1790s it became increasingly well known and he began etching and publishing under his own name. In awkward poses and with ruddy faces, Dighton's satirical caricatures included lawyers, military officers, actors and actresses who were seen about town, as well as down-at-heel types. In 1795 he brought out a Book of Heads and thenceforth devoted himself chiefly to caricature. His work is noted as being less savage than that of his contemporaries, James Gilray and George Cruikshank. By the start of the century, his success allowed him to open a shop in Charing Cross, where he sold his own prints and those of others until it emerged in 1806 that part of his stock was stolen from the British Museum. An art dealer by the name of Samuel Woodburn had purchased a print, an impression of Rembrandt's Coach Landscape, from Dighton and, supposing it might be a copy, took the print to the British Museum to compare it with the impression there. When it was discovered that their impression was missing, Dighton confessed that he had befriended a museum official by drawing portraits of him and his daughter during his visits and used this relationship to remove prints from the museum hidden in his portfolio. Because of his co-operation, Dighton escaped prosecution but was forced to lie low in Oxford until the scandal died down. While there he did an amusing series of portraits of academic types and country gentlemen, as well as in Bath and Cambridge. Returning to London in 1810, he reopened his studio, where he worked with his sons (Richard Dighton 1795-1880) and Denis Dighton (1792-1827) until his death in 1814. His son Richard Dighton was best known for his many satirical profile portraits of contemporary London celebrities and characters.
Dennis Rose. Life, Times and Recorded Works of Robert Dighton, pp. 37,38 & 39.