Publisher: (London:) Drawn, etch'd & pub.by Dighton, Charing Cross, April, 1799.
Edition: The earliest recorded portrait of Thomas John Dibdin.
Bibliographical References: NCBEL III, 1129-30.
Condition: One crease; in fine condition. Rare.
Book ID: 27328
DescriptionHand-colored etching, 20.5 x 16.5 cm, with the caption "Sans Souci, Jun." With the portrait is the manuscript note: "This Portrait of myself / taken in the palmy days of white neckcloths and frills / when I was, as you see, rather younger than at present, is presented / by Thomas Dibdin April 28, 1841." Around the image of Dibdin are depictions of his plays and songs.
CommentsA fine portrait of the actor and writer, Thomas John Dibdin (1771-1841), who like the other famous thespian Dibdins, was involved in the English theater from an early age. Thomas John was one of three illegitimate children of Charles Dibdin and actress Harriet Pitt, and in his early years on stage he used the name "T. Merchant" and his writings were published anonymously, a fact that the artist Dighton makes a playful reference to in giving the subject of his portrait the name "Sans Souci, Jun." Charles Dibdin was the owner of the San Souci Theater in London. See the ODNB for both Thomas John and Charles Dibdin.