Publisher London Dighton; Fore's; Thomas Pulver; 1796-1815
Seller ID 005602
Oblong 4to, 23 by 37 cm. 50 hand-colored portraits, many, but not all, caricatures. Most of the plates were published by Dighton himself, with a few published by others. The degree of caricature varies, with the majority perhaps only lightly so, to the point that they can be taken as nearly straight portraits, and we believe that some of the portraits might well have been commissions by the subjects portrayed, who are occasionally identified by name. Subjects here are various. Heavily represented are academics from Oxford -- dons, students -- and people around town there. It was to Oxford that Dighton repaired to lay low after he became enmeshed in scandal over his theft of prints from the British Museum. For this he escaped prosecution by cooperating with the crown. But Cambridge, too, is represented, as are individuals from other parts of England, and lawyers, ministers, military officers, wives, etc. are subjects of very mild fun. As sometimes the caricature is broad, albeit without the savagery of say Gillray, the album shows the range of Dighton, who was clearly well-known and esteemed in his day but now is overshadowed by Cruikshank, Rowlandson and a few other contemporaries. Dighton's success allowed him to open his own shop on Charing Cross Road, and most of the plates in this album give Charing Cross as the location of their printing. While this collection was assembled by a collector, the binding is near contemporary. Rubbing of the joints and edges. Corner chip to FEP. One gathering's worth of plates have been excised near the back of the album -- as the collection is one assembled by a collector, we do not see this as the same as plates missing from a book published as such. Some finger smudging and other scattered soiling.