Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/325

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and many useful notes. A life of the poet was contributed by Dr. Charles Symmons, and there were wood engravings after the designs of Stothard and others. The edition was frequently republished, and won much reputation in America. A reissue in 1856 included a series of critical essays by Singer's friend, W. Watkiss Lloyd. Singer proved his skill as a textual critic by preparing the earliest attack on the genuineness of Collier's manuscript corrections in the so-called Perkins folio. The work appeared in 1853 as the ‘Text of Shakespeare vindicated from the Interpolations and Corruptions advocated by J. P. Collier in his Notes and Emendations.’

Meanwhile Singer had extended his linguistic studies to Anglo-Saxon and Norman-French, and began the compilation of an Anglo-Saxon dictionary. He abandoned the project on learning that Joseph Bosworth [q. v.] was engaged on a like undertaking. He turned his researches to some effect by issuing adverse critical ‘Remarks on the Glossary [by Sir Frederic Madden] of Havelock the Dane’ (1829, 4to), to which Madden replied. He also printed, with an English translation, ‘The Departing Soul's Address to the Body, a fragment of a semi-Saxon Poem discovered among the Archives of Worcester Cathedral by Sir Thomas Phillipps’ (1845, one hundred copies).

Singer was elected F.S.A. in 1825, but in 1827 his literary activity was checked by his acceptance of the office of librarian to the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street. He retained the post till 1835. A year earlier his friend Francis Douce [q. v.] died, and, to Singer's surprise, left him a competency. Relieved of the necessity of earning a livelihood, Singer finally retired in 1835 to Mickleham, near Dorking, Surrey, and devoted the rest of his life to leisurely study. He edited Herrick's ‘Poetical Works’ (1846), Bacon's ‘Essays’ (1856), and Selden's ‘Table Talk’ (1847; 2nd edit. 1856). He translated Luther's ‘Way to Prayer’ (1846), and (with original additions) ‘Wayland Smith’ from the French of G. P. Depping and Francisque Michel (1847). He died suddenly at Mickleham on 20 Dec. 1858, and was buried there. He had married, in 1808, Miss Harriet Robinson, by whom he was father of a son, Alfred (1816–1898), and three daughters. His library, which included many valuable Italian books, was sold by auction in 1860.

Singer's zeal for accumulating knowledge and his native shrewdness atoned for the defective training of his youth. He unostentatiously did much to advance the study of Elizabethan literature. He mixed to a very small extent in literary society, and his amiability and modesty held him, as a rule, aloof from literary controversy.

[Private information; Athenæum, January 1859; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L.


SINGLETON, HENRY (1766–1839), painter, born in London on 19 Oct. 1766, lost his father at an early age, and was brought up by his uncle, William Singleton, a miniature-painter, who exhibited a few enamel portraits at the Society of Artists and Royal Academy from 1770 to 1790. Singleton showed very early promise as an artist, and in 1780 exhibited at the exhibition of the Society of Artists in Spring Gardens a pen-drawing of ‘A Soldier returned to his Family,’ being described as ‘Master H. Singleton, aged ten years.’ Gaining admission to the schools of the Royal Academy, Singleton obtained in 1784 a silver medal and in 1788 the gold medal for an original painting from Dryden's ode, ‘Alexander's Feast,’ which performance obtained the special commendation of Sir Joshua Reynolds in his presidential discourse. Singleton first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1784, and continued to be a prolific contributor up to the year of his death. He was at first noted for large historical compositions from the bible, Shakespeare, or contemporary historical events. Many of these were engraved in mezzotint on a large scale by Gillbank, Charles Turner, and others, and published by James Daniell. Two of the best, ‘Paul I granting Liberty to Kosciuszko’ (1797) and ‘The Death of Captain Alexander Hood after capturing the French 74 L'Hercule, 21 April 1798,’ were engraved, the latter in colours, by Daniell himself (good specimens of these and other large historical prints after Singleton are in the print-room at the British Museum). Singleton, though a popular artist, whose works were always in demand, never maintained his original promise as an historical painter. His figures became loosely drawn, his composition weak, and his colour flimsy. Gradually he lapsed into compositions of a sentimental or moral nature, almost entirely destined for the engraver. Numberless compositions of his were engraved by the stipple engravers of the day, W. Bond, Thomas Burke (1749–1815) [q. v.], James Godby [q. v.], Anthony Cardon, and others, and it is through the popularity of these pretty sugary compositions that Singleton's name is best known at the present day. He did better work as an illustrator of books, those done for Sharpe's classics and other serials having much charm. He completed a series of cabinet pictures to illustrate Shakespeare shortly before his death. As a painter of portraits Singleton attained some distinction. In 1793 he painted on commission from the Royal Academy a portrait group of ‘The Royal Academicians assembled in their Council Chamber to adjudge the Medals to the Successful Students in Painting, Sculpture, Architecture,