Richard Dighton - D10949
John Bell ('A real TB')
by and published by Richard Dighton
Portraits in Profile: the Dighton FamilyRichard
' A Real TB', John Bell (1745-1831), published 1821
John Bell published The Poets of Great Britain complete from Chaucer to Churchill in 109 pocket-sized volumes. He also issued similar editions of Shakespeare and The British Theatre. He commissioned illustrations from leading artists of the day (including Robert Dighton Snr, who had produced designs for Shakespeare) and he was the first printer to discard the long s (f) from his type.
John Bell had been bookseller to the Prince Regent and the title 'A Real TB' is declaring him to be 'A Real True Blue'. The title was once misinterpreted as suggesting the sitter to be 'Thomas Bell', as indicated by the pencil inscription.