Daniel Defoe writer of Robinson Crusoe antique print. Original copper-plate engraved antique print of Daniel Defoe, here named Daniel de Foe, from James Caulfield’s ‘Portraits, Memoirs and Characters of Remarkable Persons,’ published in London, 1819.
Daniel Defoe born Daniel Foe, was an English trader, writer, journalist and pamphleteer. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, which is second only to the Bible in its number of translations. He has been seen as one of the earliest proponents of the English novel, and helped to popularise the form in Britain with others such as Aphra Behn and Samuel Richardson. Defoe wrote many political tracts and often was in trouble with the authorities, including a spell in prison. Intellectuals and political leaders paid attention to his fresh ideas and sometimes consulted with him.
James Caulfield (1764–1826) was an English author and printseller, known also as a publisher and editor. Caulfield was born in the Vineyard, Clerkenwell, on 11 February 1764. His father was a music engraver, but poor eyesight prevented him following in his footsteps. In Cambridge for the sake of his health, he encountered Christopher Sharpe, a print collector, who gave him some etchings, and money to purchase more. Caulfield became a bidder at Hutchins’s sale-room in King Street, Covent Garden. Backed by his father, Caulfield set up in business as a printseller in a small shop in Old Round Court, Strand. There he was visited by Samuel Johnson and Richard Cosway. In 1784 Caulfield helped out his father, who had been given large quantity of music by John Ashley, to engrave for the Handel commemoration. With the additional capital he moved to larger premises in Castle Street, Leicester Square. About 1795 he moved, this time to 6 Clare Court, Drury Lane; and in 1797 he occupied premises in William Street, Adelphi, and afterwards in 11, Old Compton Street, Soho. The publication of James Granger‘s Biographical History of England in 1769 had boosted the taste for engraved portraits. In 1814 Caulfield resided in Wells Street, Oxford Street, and until 1820 was mainly occupied in the sale of engravings, the illustration of books, and the compilation of catalogues. In more prosperous times he had received the patronage of notable collectors including Earl Spencer, Charles Towneley, James Bindley, and Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode. With advancing years Caulfield took to drink, earning five shillings a day as a cataloguer, but kept his youngest daughter and her family. One of his sons seems to have entered into the business, as John Caulfield, “print and bookseller, Little Newport Street, Leicester Square”. In January 1826 Caulfield broke his kneecap and was taken to Camden Town and the house of his brother Joseph, a music engraver and piano teacher. Here he remained for six weeks and then went to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where, after ten days he died on 22 April 1826. He was buried in the family vault in Clerkenwell Church.