Dighton’s caricature map of England and Wales

By DIGHTON, Robert, 1795 

Geography Bewitched or a droll Caricature Map of England and Wales.

British Isles Great Britain
  • Author: DIGHTON, Robert
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed for Bowles & Carver, No. 69 St. Paul’s Church Yard
  • Publication date: c1795
  • Physical description: Engraved caricature map with fine original hand-colour, tape marks to margins, tear to imprint skilfully repaired, with minor loss.
  • Dimensions: 210 by 180mm (8.25 by 7 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1828


Robert Dighton (1752–1814) was well known as a portrait artist and is regarded as one of the most talented social caricaturists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As an artist, he was first offered consistent employment by the publisher Carington Bowles (fl.1752–1793). This was the heyday of the so-called droll’ mezzotint and Robert’s output of designs, executed in watercolour and then engraved, was an integral part of his stock. Carington Bowles was among of the most active mapsellers of his day in London, which will explain Dighton’s caricature maps in his Geography Bewitched” series, including Ireland, England and Wales (the present map), and Scotland.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, he would achieve notoriety when he was found to have stolen valuable prints from the British Museum, which he sold through his shop in Charing Cross. His crime was exposed when a dealer, but the name of Samuel Woodburn, having acquired a Rembrandt etching from Dighton, went to the British Museum to compare it with their copy, whereupon he found the print to be missing. Dighton later confessed that he had befriended a museum official by drawing portraits of him and his daughter during his visits and used this relationship to remove prints from the museum hidden in his portfolio.