Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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EDWIN, David, engraver, born in Bath, England, in December 1776; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 February 1841. He was the son of John Edwin, a comedian. David was apprenticed to Jossi, a Dutch engraver residing in England, who soon returned to Holland, taking his apprentice with him to Amsterdam. Master and boy did not long agree, and the latter left before his term of apprenticeship had expired. Finding himself alone in a foreign land, without either money or friends, he shipped as a sailor on an American vessel bound for Philadelphia, hoping eventually to reach London. He landed in Philadelphia in December 1797, obtained employment from T.B. Freeman, an English publisher, and was also employed by Edward Savage, the painter. He devoted himself to the engraving of portraits, and succeeded in doing the best work that had been produced in this country up to that time. His copies of the portraits of Gilbert Stuart were especially good. He engraved the pictures of Washington, by Stuart and Peale, and made copies of the portraits of prominent men of the day painted by those artists and by Waldo, Wood, Jarvis, Sully, and Neagle. After twenty years of steady application his eyesight failed, and he was compelled to resort to various methods to obtain a livelihood. He also possessed considerable taste and skill as a musician. A list of Edwin's principal works will be found in "American Engravers" (Philadelphia., 1875).
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