Geography Bewitched!

By DIGHTON, Robert, 1796 
£7,500
£6,000

Geography Bewitched! Or a Droll caricature of Map of ENGLAND & WALES; [with] Geography Bewitched! Or a Droll caricature of Map of IRELAND This Portrait of LADY HIBERNIA BULL is humbly dedicated to her Husband the great Mr JOHN BULL ; [with] Geography Bewitched! Or a Droll caricature of Map of SCOTLAND.

British Isles Great Britain
  • Author: DIGHTON, Robert
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Bowles & Carver
  • Publication date: c1796
  • Physical description: Set of three engraved caricature maps, with fine original hand-colour.
  • Dimensions: 215 by 180mm. (8.5 by 7 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 16291

Notes

A fine set of Robert Dighton’s Geography Bewitched” series, depicting England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland in a humorous light.

England and Wales are depicted as John Bull with full tankard of beer in hand and riding a monstrous fish; Scotland is a merry gent, who sits on a wool sack and carrying a tartan sack over his shoulder; and Ireland as a merry woman — who is said to the wife of John Bull — in traditional dress playing the harp.

The series was the work of Robert Dighton (c1752-1814) a well-known painter of portraits and caricatures, as well as decorative subjects, who is regarded as one of the most talented social caricaturists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Dighton’s satirical art was extremely successful, eventually allowing him to open his own gallery. However, in 1806 scandal erupted when it was discovered that Dighton had been stealing prints from the British Museum and selling them in his gallery. This fraud was only discovered when one of Dighton’s customers, concerned that the print he had purchased was a fake, took the piece into the British Museum to compare it with their copy, only to find that the Museum’s copy had been stolen. By cooperating with authorities in the recovery of the stolen material Dighton was able to evade prosecution

The series like much of Dighton’s caricatures were published by Carington Bowles (fl.1752–1793). Carington Bowles worked initially with his father, John Bowles, before leaving to take over his uncle Thomas Bowles (II)‘s business, circa 1762. Carington Bowles was one of the most active mapsellers and publishers of his day in London. His business was continued by his some Henry Carington Bowles who, in partnership with Samuel Carver, continued to publish maps and prints well into the nineteenth century. 

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