Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/81
[Redgrave's Dict. of English Artists; Fagan's Collectors' Marks, p. 24, No. 131; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vi. 187.]
first visited the British Museum in 1794, and finding one of the officials very obliging drew for him gratuitously his portrait and that of his daughter. The prints were at that time slightly pasted in guard-books, from which Dighton was able to remove them unnoticed, and to carry them away in a portfolio. These he sold, but they were nearly all recovered. There is in the department of prints and drawings, British Museum, a good set of Dighton's etchings, and a lithograph representing a boy at an easel and the following water-colour drawings: ‘Glee Singers executing a Catch,’ ‘The Reward of Virtue,’ ‘Comme ce Corse nous mène,’ ‘There is gallantry for you!’ ‘Men of War bound for the Port of Pleasure.’
DIGNUM, CHARLES (1765?–1827), vocalist, son of a master tailor, was born at Rotherhithe about 1765. His father, who was a catholic, moved his business to Wild Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, and young Dignum became a chorister at the Sardinian Chapel, where his fine voice attracted the attention of Samuel Webbe, the organist, who undertook his musical education. Dignum, however, wished to become a priest, and was only prevented by his father being too poor to pay for his training. He was therefore placed under a carver and gilder named Egglesoe, with whom he remained for nine months, when a quarrel with his master prevented his being definitely apprenticed. Linley [q. v.] made his acquaintance, and, persuading him to adopt the musical profession, undertook his education. Linley would not let him sing in public until his powers were thoroughly matured. His first appearance took place at Drury Lane, as young Meadows in ‘Love in a Village,’ on 14 Oct. 1784; according to the advertisements he was received by a very crowded house with unbounded applause. He appeared in Michael Arne's ‘Cymon’ on 26 Nov. following, and as Damon in Boyce's ‘Chaplet’ on 18 Dec. Dignum remained associated with Drury Lane during the greater part of his life. He had a fine tenor voice, but his figure was clumsy, and though extremely good-natured, he seems to have been a somewhat stupid man. He succeeded to Charles Bannister's parts on the latter's secession to the Royalty Theatre (1787); he was particularly successful as Tom Tug in the ‘Waterman,’ and as Crop in ‘No Song, no Supper.’ He also sang at the Drury Lane Oratorios, and on 28 March 1800 took part at Covent Garden in the first performance of Haydn's ‘Creation.’ During the summer Dignum sang at Vauxhall, where he was a great favourite. In 1786 he married a Miss Rennett, the daughter of an attorney; she died at 23 New North Street, Red Lion Square, in 1799, and of their children only one daughter survived. Dignum's name disappears from the theatre bills after 1812, but he continued to be a favourite member in musical society until his death. He died of inflammation of the lungs, at his house in Gloucester Street, 29 March 1827. He is said to have accumulated, together with his wife's property, a fortune of over 30,000l. Dignum wrote the tunes of several of his own songs, but he was a poor musician, and the harmonies were generally added by his friends. Several of his compositions appeared shortly after 1801, in a volume dedicated to the Prince of Wales, to which a portrait of the composer is prefixed. The other engraved portraits of him are the following: (1) Vignette, full face, engraved by Ridley after Drummond, and published in the ‘European Magazine’ for December 1798; (2) vignette, full face, the same as (1) but said to be engraved by Mackenzie from a drawing by Deighton; (3) full-length, as Tom Tug, engraved by Bond after De Wilde, published 26 July 1806; (4) full-length, caricature, ‘Ease and Elegance,’ published 1805.
A notice in the ‘European Magazine’ (1798) announces that Dignum was then writing a two-act piece, but it is not known whether this was ever played.[European Mag. December 1798; Public Advertiser, 14, 15 Oct., 26 Nov., 18 Dec. 1784; Portraits and Music in the British Museum; Morning Post, 30 March 1827; Parke's Musical Memoirs, i. 91, 176, ii. 5, 63; Gent. Mag. 1799, i. 258; Genest's Hist. of the Stage; Georgian Era, iv. 286; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 447.]
DILKE, ASHTON WENTWORTH (1850–1883), traveller and politician, younger son of Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke [q. v.], was educated privately, and went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, of which he was a scholar, but left without taking his degree, being anxious to travel in Russia and acquire a knowledge of the condition of that empire. He visited a great part of Russia and Central Asia; and resided for some months in a Russian village, studying the language and also examining the condition of the peasantry. On his return he read a paper on Kuldja before the Geographical Society, and commenced a work on Russia, one or two chapters of which appeared in the ‘Fortnightly Review,’ but it was never published, as his energies were