Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 16.djvu/285

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

re-edited in 1858; Marlowe, one vol., in 1861; and Shakespeare, nine vols., in 1864–1867. His latest work was a revised edition, in three vols., of Gifford's Ford. The preface to that work is dated ‘15 Feb. 1869.’ At the close of June 1868 he wrote to his friend Forster that he was ‘unusually well;’ but at the beginning of August he declared himself to be, though free from pain, ‘ill, ill, ill, exhausted from inability to sleep and to eat, my nights intolerable, my days wearisome, because I cannot read, and when or how it is to end seems uncertain.’ In another letter to Forster, dated 4 Dec. 1868, he wrote: ‘I suspect that I am very gradually dying, and if such is the case, I certainly have no reason to make any childish lamentation, for I have lived a great deal longer than most people who are born into this world, and I look back on my past existence without much disapprobation.’ He was suffering from organic derangement of the liver. In the preface to his edition of Gifford's Ford he states that the ‘languor and weakness consequent on a very long and serious illness’ made it impossible for him to pursue any researches among the public records. But he continued working, though bedridden, to the end, preparing a third edition of his Shakespeare (which was posthumously published by the care of John Forster), and still busy with his unfinished translation (begun more than twenty years earlier) of Athenæus's ‘Deipnosophists.’ He died 15 May 1869, at 33 Oxford Terrace, where he had resided for the last ten years of his life. He bequeathed his valuable library, with his pictures and prints, to South Kensington Museum. The library contains many Elizabethan rarities, and is rich in classical and Italian literature.

For the Camden Society Dyce edited Kempe's ‘Nine Days' Wonder;’ for the Percy Society Porter's ‘Two Angry Women of Abingdon,’ Drayton's ‘Harmony of the Church,’ and ‘Poems’ of Sir H. Wotton; for the Shakespeare Society the old tragedy of ‘Timon’ and the tragedy of ‘Sir Thomas More.’ He also published ‘Remarks on Mr. J. P. Collier's and Mr. C. Knight's editions of Shakespeare,’ 1844; ‘A few Notes on Shakespeare,’ 1853; and ‘Strictures on Mr. Collier's new edition of Shakespeare,’ 1859. For many years he was on terms of cordial relationship with Payne Collier, to whom in 1840 he dedicated his edition of ‘Middleton;’ but the friendship was afterwards interrupted, and finally dissolved. The manuscript of Dyce's projected translation of ‘Athenæus’ is preserved at South Kensington. A translation of the ‘Deipnosophists’ was a formidable undertaking, and it is doubtful whether, under any circumstances, this labour of love could have been completed.

There have been editors more brilliant than Dyce, but his deep and varied learning, his minute accuracy, and his nice discrimination have very rarely been equalled. So long as the best traditions of English scholarship survive his name will be respected.

[Biographical notice by John Forster prefixed to Catalogue of the Dyce Library.]

A. H. B.

DYCE, WILLIAM (1806–1864), painter, third son of William Dyce, M.D., F.R.S. (Edinb.), of Fonthill and Cuttlehill, co. Aberdeen (lineally descended from William Dyce of Belhelvie, co. Aberdeen, in 1565), and cousin of the Rev. Alexander Dyce [q. v.], was born in Marischal Street, Aberdeen, on 19 Sept. 1806. His mother was daughter of James Chalmers of Westburn in the same county, and belonged to a family which had been honourably connected for centuries with the town and county of Aberdeen. Dyce was educated at Marischal College, university of Aberdeen, and took the degree of M.A. at the age of sixteen. His father, who was a noted physician and of great scientific attainments, wished him to adopt either medicine or theology, both of which he had studied, in preference to painting. Dyce, however, secretly pursued his studies in art, and by selling his productions at last earned a sufficient sum to enable him to embark on a trading smack for London. He procured an introduction to the president of the Royal Academy, who immediately discerned Dyce's talent and obtained his father's permission for him to study art. Dyce set to work making drawings at the Egyptian Hall, and was soon after admitted a probationer in the school of the Royal Academy. Not being satisfied with the system there, he eagerly embraced a chance of visiting Rome offered to him by Alexander Day [q. v.], with whom and with William Holwell Carr [q. v.] he had made acquaintance. He started in the autumn of 1825 with Day, and remained in Rome nine months, paying special attention to the study of the works of Titian and Nicolas Poussin. In 1826 he returned to Aberdeen, and, besides decorating a room in his father's house, he commenced his first picture of importance, ‘Bacchus nursed by the Nymphs of Nysa,’ which he exhibited in London at the Royal Academy in 1827. In the same year Dyce returned to Rome, and now developed his tendency to that form of art which was at first styled ‘pre-Raphaelite.’ Dyce may be said to have been the originator of the movement in the English school of painting. In 1828 he