Item #05626 Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton. Richard DIGHTON.
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton
Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton

Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton

London: Thomas M'Lean: Repository of Wit and Humour, 1825. Item #05626

Richard Dighton's Caricatures of British Society
Forty Fine Hand Colored Engraved Plates

DIGHTON, Richard. Characters at the West End of the Town. Drawn and Etched by Richard Dighton. London: Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1825.

First edition. Large folio (14 x 10 inches; 356 x 254 mm.). Letterpress title and forty hand-colored engraved plates watermarked "J. Whatman 1824." Small closed (1 1/8 inch) marginal tear to plate no. 4, some mostly marginal thumb marks to lower outer corners, some occasional soiling. Still a fine collection seldom seen.

Expertly rebound to period style in full dark red straight grain morocco, covers ruled in gilt and decoratively bordered in blind with blind stamped diamond within central gilt panel. Original red morocco gilt lettering label on front cover. Spine with five raised bands decoratively tooled in gilt, panels lettered and decoratively tolled in gilt, marbled endpapers. A fine copy.

A rare set of caricatures of West End characters, amusingly drawn and finely hand-colored, caricaturing various figures of British society. including the Persian Ambassador. Richard Dighton was best known for his numerous portraits of City and West End characters. Apprenticed in his father Robert Dighton's studio, he continued with the production of full-length, profile etchings. He began his extensive series of City and West End characters in 1817, publishing over one hundred etchings during the next ten years.

The Plates:

1. A View of Nugent. (July 1822)
2. Up-Town. (1817)
3. A Big-Wig. (July 26, 1820)
4. A View of Londonderry. (N.d.)
5. A View of Gloucester. (April 1821)
6. A View from St. James’s Street. (May 1818)
7. A View of Argyle. (May 1819)
8. A Stirling Banker. (June 1824)
9. A Thin Piece of Parliament. (April 1822)
10. A View of Yarmouth. (1818)
11. A Welch Castle. (April 1818)
12. Elegant Manners. (1821)
13. A Good Soldier, but no General. (Octr. 30th, 1821)
14. A View taken at Eaton. (N.d.)
15. A View of a Lake. (May 1818)
16. A Good Whip. (1818)
17. Mr. Hobhouse. (1819)
18. A View of Burghersh. (April 13, 1822)
19. One of the Rakes of London. (March 1818)
20. A View from Knightsbridge Barracks. (May 1817) (Plate 2nd)
21. The Golden Ball. (May 1819)
22. A View of Devonshire. (October 1820)
23. Mr. C. Kemble as Charles Surface, in the School for Scandal. (1821)
24. Sir Murray Maxwell Kt CB. (N.d.)
25. The Honble. Geoge. Lamb. (1819)
26. Sir Francis Burdett. (Jan 1820)
27. No Title. (1820)
28. A View from the Horse Guards. (July 16th, 1817)
29. Going to Whites. (Jan 1819)
30. A View of Westmoreland or an Imprefsion of the Privy Seal. (July 1821)
31. Byng-Go. (Jan 1820)
32. A View taken in Hyde Park. (1817)
33. A View of Hill near Downshire. (1817)
34. The Dandy Club. (Decr. 29, 1818)
35. His Excellency The Persian Ambassador. (May 1819)
36. Mr. Kean as Lucias Junius, in Brutus. (1818)
37. Mr. W. Farren, as Sir Peter Teasle. (1818)
38. Miss Wilson, in Artaxerxes. (1821)
39. Miss M. Tree, of Covent Garden Theatre. (Novr. 16, 1821)
40. An Illustrious Consort. (July 1818)

Robert Dighton 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. 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 Cruickshank. 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.

Bobins III, 852; Tooley 181.

Price: $9,500.00

See all items by