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Dayes, Edward (DNB00)

DAYES, EDWARD (1763–1804), watercolour painter and engraver in mezzotint, was born in 1763. He studied under William Pether, and began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1786, sending views of Waltham and Canterbury; in the three following years he exhibited miniatures as well as landscapes. He continued to exhibit there regularly till the year of his death, contributing in all sixty-four works. He also was an exhibitor at the Society of Artists. In 1798 he began to send classic and scriptural subjects, such as 'The Fall of the Angels ' (1798), 'John preaching in the Wilderness' (1799), the 'Triumph of Beauty' (1800), and 'Elisha causing Iron to swim' (1801). Many of his drawings were crowded with figures, which he drew with grace and spirit; among these were two views of the interior of St. Paul's on the occasion of the thanksgiving for the king's recovery in 1789, 'The Trial of Warren Hastings in Westminster Abbey,' and 'Buckingham House, St. James's Park' (1780), now in the South Kensington Museum. All these have been engraved. He drew much from nature in various parts of England, including the lake country and Wales, and his cleverly executed sketches in grey tints show much feeling for nature, and entitle him to a place among the precursors of the English school of water-colour. He was the master of Girtin, and his influence is perceptible in the early drawings of Turner. He was draughtsman to the Duke of York. He died by his own hand at the end of May 1804. In the South Kensington Museum he is represented by a fine view of Ely Cathedral (1792), and views of Windermere and Keswick Lake, all of which are remarkable (having regard to the time at which they were painted) for their luminous skies and aerial perspective.

He engraved at least four plates in mezzotint, one after Morland, another after J. R. Smith, and two humorous scenes called 'Rustic Courtship' and 'Polite Courtship.' He wrote an 'Excursion through Derbyshire and Yorkshire,' 'Essays on Painting; Instructions for Drawing and Colouring Landscapes,' and 'Professional Sketches of Modern Artists.' After his death his works were collected and edited by E. W. Bradley, and published for the benefit of his widow in 1805.

His wife painted miniatures and exhibited four works at the Royal Academy between 1797 and 1800.

[Redgrave's Dict.; Edwards's Anecdotes; Royal Academy Catalogues.]

C. M.