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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/232

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Opicius
Opie
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plates to the ‘Pickwick Papers,’ which were issued in eight (though intended to be in ten) monthly parts (at one shilling each, 8vo, two shillings India proof 4to), by E. Grattan, 51 Paternoster Row, in 1837; they are for the most part signed with the pseudonym ‘Samuel Weller,’ but some bear Onwhyn's initials. In June 1838 Grattan issued a series of forty etchings by Onwhyn, illustrating ‘Nicholas Nickleby;’ these also appeared in parts, which were concluded in October 1839; some are signed with the pseudonym of ‘Peter Palette.’ After Onwhyn's death an additional set of illustrations to ‘Pickwick’ was discovered which Onwhyn had executed in 1847; they had been laid aside owing to the republication of the original illustrations in 1848; they were published in 1893 by Albert Jackson, Great Portland Street. Onwhyn also published illustrations, under the name of ‘Peter Palette,’ to two series of a work entitled ‘Peter Palette's Tales and Pictures in Short Words for Young Folks’ (1856). In his own name he contributed the illustrations to the humorous works of Henry Cockton [q. v.], such as ‘Valentine Vox’ (1840), ‘Sylvester Sound’ (1844), down to ‘Percy Effingham’ (1853). He also illustrated, among other works, the ‘Memoirs of Davy Dreamy’ (1839); the ‘Maxims and Specimens of William Muggins,’ by Charles Selby (1841); the ‘Mysteries of Paris,’ by Eugène Sue (1844); ‘Etiquette illustrated by an X.M.P.’ (1849); ‘Marriage-à-la-Mode;’ ‘Mr. and Mrs. Brown's Visit to the Exhibition, 1851;’ and ‘300l. a Year, or Single and Married Life’ (1859), &c. He sometimes etched the designs of others, as in ‘Oakleigh, or the Minor of Great Expectations,’ by W. H. Holmes (1843). Onwhyn was an indifferent draughtsman, but showed real humour in his designs. His fame was somewhat overshadowed by those of his most eminent contemporaries—Cruikshank, Hablot K. Browne, and others. Onwhyn, who drew also views of scenery for guide-books, letter-paper, &c., abandoned artistic work for the last twenty or thirty years of his life, and died on 5 Jan. 1886.

[Cook's Bibliography of Dickens; Westminster Gazette, 13 Dec. 1893; information from G. C. Boase, esq., G. S. Layard, esq., and M. H. Spielmann, esq.]

L. C.

OPICIUS, JOHANNES (fl. 1497), panegyrist of Henry VII, is known only by his poems. Tanner thought it probable that he was an Englishman. He may possibly have belonged to the family of John de Opiczis or Opizis, papal collector in England in 1429, and prebendary of York in 1432, and of Benedict or Benet de Opiciis, ‘player at organs’ to Henry VIII (Fœdera, x. 415; Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, iii. 173, ed. Hardy; Calendar of Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, ii. 1472, 1477, No. 4193).

Opicius's poems, five in number, are contained in an illuminated manuscript in the Cottonian collection (Vespasian, B. iv.). They are: (1) an heroic poem in Latin hexameters on Henry the Seventh's French war, beginning ‘Bella canant alii Trojæ, prostrataque dicant;’ (2) a dialogue between Mopsus and Melibœus in praise of Henry, ‘sub prætextu rosæ purpureæ;’ (3) an exhortation to mortals to celebrate the birthday of Christ, which was made for Christmas 1497; (4) a hymn of praise for Henry's victory; (5) lines on the presentation of his book to the king. According to Mr. Gairdner, who has printed two extracts from them in the preface to the ‘Memorials of Henry VII’ (pp. xvii, lxi), ‘they have very little value except as illustrations of the classical style of the day.’

[Tanner's Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica, p. 562; Memorials of Henry VII (Rolls Ser.); Rymer's Fœdera, original ed.]

J. T-t.

OPIE, Mrs. AMELIA (1769–1853), novelist and poet, born on 12 Nov. 1769 at Norwich, was the only child of James Alderson, M.D. (son of J. Alderson, a dissenting minister, of Lowestoft). Her mother, Amelia Briggs, was daughter of Joseph Briggs of Cossambaza up the Ganges, a member of an old Norfolk family. Dr. John Alderson [q. v.] was an uncle, and Baron Alderson her cousin. Her father was popular in Norwich, where he enjoyed a large practice as a physician. He was generous to poor patients, had literary tastes, was a radical in politics, and a unitarian in religion. Amelia, who was brought up in her father's belief, had little serious education. She learned French under John Bruckner, a Flemish clergyman settled in Norwich, and devoted some attention to music and dancing (cf. Beloe, Sexagenarian, i. 412). On 31 Dec. 1784 her mother died, and Amelia at the age of fifteen took charge of her father's house and entered local society. One of its leaders, Mrs. John Taylor [q. v.], the mother of Mrs. Sarah Austin [q. v.], proved an admirable friend and counsellor (cf. Ross, Three Generations of Englishwomen, i. 8, 9).

Miss Alderson rapidly became popular. She was good-looking and high-spirited. She sang ballads of her own composition, and gave dramatic recitations, while some poems written by her in childhood were printed in newspapers and magazines (Mrs.