English painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He is chiefly remembered for his topographical watercolours. He was versatile in technique and subject-matter and often undertook drawing and oil painting (including both large-scale history subjects and miniatures), etching and aquatint. After studying printmaking under William Pether, he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1780 and began to exhibit at the Academy in 1786. In the 1790s he was active in supplying drawings for topographical publications and working up sketches by amateur artists, notably the antiquary James Moore (1762-99). Some of his architectural views, for example Greenwich Hospital (1788; London, V&A), are highly finished and peopled with elegant figures, tinted over an assured pen-and-ink outline. Dayes's sketches have often been confused with early works by J. M. W. Turner and Thomas Girtin. The latter was a pupil of Dayes's from 1789, but the two men quarrelled: according to popular legend (unsubstantiated by contemporary sources) Dayes resented his pupil's success and had him imprisoned as a refractory apprentice.
Edward married Sarah PARKER on 11 Nov 1786 in London, Middlesex, England. (Sarah PARKER was born about 1771 in London, Middlesex, England and died in 1837.)
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