Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/80

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Dighton
Dighton
74

Mrs. Cowley's ‘Albina, Countess Raimond.’ At the close of 1781 he quitted London permanently, and acted in Dublin. Rehearsing in July 1784 Pierre in ‘Venice Preserved,’ with Mrs. Siddons as Belvidera, he had a stroke of paralysis from which he never recovered. He died in Cork 10 Nov. 1786, and was buried in the cathedral. Digges was a well-formed and handsome man, portly in his later years, but with much natural grace. He was, however, rather formal in style, and his voice was imperfectly under control. In London he made no great reputation. Davies, speaking of his Wolsey, says, ‘Mr. Digges, if he had not sometimes been extravagant in gesture and quaint in elocution, would have been nearer the resemblance of the great minister than any actor I have seen represent it’ (Dramatic Miscellanies, i. 351). Colman the younger accords him high praise. Victor says his ‘Lear was a weak imitation of Garrick,’ and esteems him a better actor in tragedy than in comedy, as he was ‘a much easier fine gentleman off the stage than on.’ Boaden says of his Wolsey that it was a masterly performance (Life of Mrs. Siddons, i. 127), and of his performance of Caratach in the ‘Bonduca’ of Fletcher, altered by Colman, Haymarket, 30 July 1778, that ‘it was quite equal to Kemble's Coriolanus in bold, original conception and corresponding felicity of execution’ (ib. i. 164), and O'Keeffe says that he was the best Macheath he ever saw.

[Books cited; Genest's Account of the Stage; Victor's Hist. of the Theatres of London and Dublin; Hitchcock's Historical View of the Irish Stage; Colman's Random Records; Peake's Memoirs of the Colman Family; Jackson's Hist. of the Scottish Stage.]

J. K.

DIGHTON, DENIS (1792–1827), battle painter, was born in London in 1792. When young he became a student in the Royal Academy of Arts. Having in his early career attracted the notice of the Prince of Wales, he received, at the age of nineteen, through the prince's favour, a commission in the 90th regiment, which, however, he resigned in order to marry and settle in London. He was appointed military draughtsman to the prince in 1815, and occasionally made professional excursions abroad by desire of his royal patron. He exhibited seventeen pictures at the Royal Academy between 1811 and 1825. His first work was entitled ‘The Lace Maker;’ he then resided at No. 4 Spring Gardens. Dighton died at St. Servan, Brittany, 8 Aug. 1827. His wife painted fruit and flower pieces, and exhibited sixteen pictures at the Academy between 1820 and 1835, and eight at the British Institution, and was appointed flower-painter to the queen. Dighton etched several plates, among which is a whole-length portrait of Denis Davidoff, ‘The Black Captain,’ 1814. There are in the department of prints and drawings, British Museum, four Indian-ink drawings, which have been engraved in Lady Callcott's works on Chili and Brazil, and also several lithographs, viz. ‘Chinois,’ ‘Turk,’ ‘Chinese,’ ‘Bedouin Arab,’ published in 1821, and ‘Drawing Book for Learners.’

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

L. F.

DIGHTON, ROBERT (1752?–1814), portrait-painter, caricaturist, and etcher, was born about 1752, and styled himself ‘drawing-master.’ He first exhibited at the Free Society of Artists in 1769, and continued to do so till 1773, when he sent some portraits in chalk. In 1775 he had at the Royal Academy ‘a frame of stain'd drawings,’ and his address was ‘at Mr. Glanville's, opposite St. Clement's Church.’ Two years later he exhibited ‘A Conversation, small whole-lengths,’ and ‘A Drawing of a Gentleman from memory;’ he then resided at 266 High Holborn, and in 1785 at Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. In 1795 Dighton etched ‘A Book of Heads,’ published by Bowles & Carver of 69 St. Paul's Churchyard, London, and also his portrait; he is seen in left profile, in his right hand a crayon-holder, and under his left arm a portfolio inscribed ‘A Book of Heads by Robert Dighton, Portrait Painter and Drawing Master.’ His etchings, which are numerous and tinted by hand, are chiefly satirical portraits of the leading counsel then at the bar, military officers, actors and actresses, and he signed himself ‘R. Dighton’ and ‘Dighton,’ whereas his son Richard wrote his name in full. In 1794 he lived at No. 12 Charing Cross; he then moved to No. 6, and finally, in 1810, to No. 4 Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, where he died in 1814. In 1806 it was discovered that Dighton had abstracted from the British Museum a number of etchings and prints. The first meeting of the trustees of the British Museum for consideration of the matter was held 21 June 1806. The discovery of the theft was due to Samuel Woodburn, the art dealer, who, having been summoned to attend the board, stated that about May 1806 he bought of Dighton, Rembrandt's ‘Coach Landscape’ for twelve guineas, and, receiving information that there was reason to suppose it might be a copy, took the etching to the museum on 18 June to compare it with the Museum impression. This he found to be missing, and only a coloured copy remaining. Shortly afterwards the culprit made the following disclosures: that he