The Darton Family

7. William Darton Jr. was the eldest son and second child of William and Hannah Darton. Due to his Quaker upbringing, his education was completed in Quaker institutions: the Friends’ school in Clerkenwell, London and Ackworth school in Yorkshire. In 1795, Darton Jr. was apprenticed to his father. His apprenticeship was completed in 1802, and in 1803/1804 he set up his own business in Holborn Hill, London as a publisher, printer, engraver, and bookseller. Like his father, Darton Jr. specialized in children’s books and, occasionally, literature related to his Quaker concerns and beliefs. The books he published heavily emphasized Christian morality, religious duty, and the importance of the nuclear family. In 1806, William Darton Jr. entered into a business partnership with his brother Thomas, who specialized in engraving. The partnership lasted for five years, at which point Thomas left to begin his own engraving business. Darton Jr. was married to Phoebe Harvey on May 3rd, 1808. Their marriage produced five children, one of whom eventually took over his father’s firm. He retired in 1836 and died on July 28, 1857 at 47 Hemingford Terrace, Islington, London.

Portraits of Curious Characters in London (1814) offers short anecdotes and descriptions of curious characters in London, such as Nathaniel Bentley, also known as ‘Dirty Dick’, and Toby, ‘a curious Negro’. It is 106 pages, 14 × 9 cm, and there is an advertisement at the back for ’A LIST OF IMPROVED BOOKS FOR CHILDREN’ recently published by W. Darton.