The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Edward Dalziel, 1817-1905

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1817.12.05
Place of Birth: Wooler
Date of Death: 1905.03.25
Place of Death: Hampstead, London


Edward Dalziel was a painter, illustrator and wood engraver. He was the son of the Northumberland artist Alexander Dalziel, and had three brothers George Dalziel (1815-1902), John Dalziel (1822-69) and Thomas Dalziel (1823-1906), and a sister Margaret Dalziel (1819-94). He and his siblings were part of a wood-engraving firm, the Brothers Dalziel, set up by George in 1839. Edward Dalziel had two sons, one of whom, E. Gilbert Dalziel, studied at the South Kensington Slade School.


Edward Dalziel was trained in art of wood-engraving by his brother George who had been taught by Charles Gray during the 1830s. The family firm became the most important wood-engraving firm in Britain in the 1860s and 1870s, producing illustrations for the Cornhill Magazine, Good Words and the Sunday Magazine, and for books such as Parables of Our Lord (1864), as well as publishing and printing in their own right.

The Dalziel family knew many of the leading artistic and literary figures of their day and had a number of important artists draw for them, including Myles Birket Foster, George Du Maurier, John Gilbert, Frederic Leighton, John Everett Millais, John Tenniel and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who famously complained about the firm's reproductions of his designs for Moxon's 1857 edition of Tennyson.

In 1862 JW made six pencil, pen and wash drawings, four of which appeared in Once A Week (see The Major's Daughter (M.302), The Relief Fund in Lancashire (M.304), The Morning before the Massacre of St Bartholomew (M.305), The Nun in 'Count Burkhardt' (M.306)), and two in Good Words, which were commissioned and engraved by Dalziel Brothers and Joseph Swain. Edward Dalziel was included in a list of names written by JW around the mid 1870s which may have been a guest list for the private view of JW's Pall Mall exhibition of 1874, or a subscription list for JW's Venice etchings as proposed in 1876 (#12714). Dalziel was a member of The Arts Club (of which JW was also occasionally a member) from 1876 to 1892.


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Freitas, Leo John de, 'Brothers Dalziel', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 11 October 2002); Dalziel, G., The Brothers Dalziel: A Record of Fifty Years' Work, London, 1901, rev. 1978; White, G., English Illustration: 'The Sixties', 1855-70, London, 1897, rev. 1970; Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Ray, G. N., The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914, Oxford, 1976; The Dalziel Family: Engravers and Illustrators, sale catalogue, Sotheby's, London, 16 May 1978; Johnson, J., and A. Greutzner, The Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.