|Published||Printer for & Sold by Carington Bowles, No. 69 in St Pauls Church Yard, London. Publish'd as the Act directs, 22 Sepr. 1785.|
|Dimensions||Images in oval vignettes, all approx. 190 x 145 mm|
A rare and complete decorative set of six 'diverting subjects' by Robert Dighton, published as a 'Drawing Book' by Carington Bowles, and listed as Book 11 in his 1790 New and Enlarged Catalogue. All six scenes are enclosed in ovals, and feature the titles below, as follows:
The Sportsmen refreshing: A group of three gentlemen rest after a hunt, passing between them a bottle of port. Their rifles rest nearby, and a small spaniel drinks from a puddle at their feet. Behind them, a building with covered porch, shuttered windows, and a hanging oval sign is probably a tavern, and in the distance, beyond a wicket gate, the spire of a county church can be seen.
A Morning excursion: Two well-attired young ladies walk down the street of a town, arm in arm, the woman on the left holding a bouquet of flowers. To their left, a young urchin offers them a handful of hat-pins, his cap in his left hand. Behind, a coach with two attendants rolls past a market square.
The Blundering Hair-Dresser: A forlorn looking hair-dresser in French habit attempts to solicit the business of an irate gentleman in a magistrates wig. As the gentleman raises his cane to fend off the unwanted advance, the hair-dresser recoils and backs into a corpulent marketseller, whose basket of goods falls from her head. The hair-dressers brushes, combs, and a pair of scissors are scattered in the street.
The Contrast: Two gentlemen, one short and fat, one tall and thin, walk together down a country road, engaged in friendly conversation. Both wear tricorn hats, wigs, cravats, and frock coats, and carry walking canes.
The Host and his Guests: A corpulent host, his buttons straining, his wig falling back from his bald pate, and his nose rosy from drink, demonstrates the joys of his larder to two guests, one an extremely po-faced dandy with cane and gloves, the other an elderly antiquarian quizzically examining a hanging game-bird with his monocle. In the background, a thin servant carries a lantern and taper up a flight of stairs, while a maid can be seen in a window working in the kitchens.
The Farewell Glass: A young sailor enjoys his final drink before putting to sea, seated at a table in a tavern with a ragged older man in overcoat and tricorn. Behind, the downcast publican changes linens. At the door, the ship's boy summons the sailor, who responds by throwing up his hand in dismissal. A cat eats scraps off a plate in the foreground, while the masts of a ship can be seen past the boy through the open doorway.
Robert Dighton (1752 - 1814) was an English draughstman and printmaker. He was the son of the art dealer John Dighton, and father of the artists Robert Junior, Denis, and Richard. Dighton was especially well known for his satirical prints, which he initially supplied to Carington Bowles and Haines. Later plates he etched, published, and sold himself. Dighton infamously stole prints from the British Museum to stock his shop in Charing Cross. When this was discovered in 1806, Dighton escaped prosecution, but was forced to lie low in Oxford until the scandal died down.
BM Satires (undescribed), Carington Bowles (1790) p150.
Condition: Strong, clean impressions. First plate trimmed to plate-mark without loss to image or plate, light stain.