Thomas Rowlandson

Watercolour painter, illustrator and social carcicaturist.

He was born in London in 1756, the son of a bankrupt merchant and was educated at Dr. Barrow's School and at the RA Schools, which he entered in 1772.

He made visits to Paris in 1774 and 1777 to visit relatives and the rococo delicacy of his pen and wash drawings probably owes something to this French connection.

Rowlandson hereafter made extensive journeys on the Continent to France, Italy, Germany and Holland and in Great Britain, filling notebooks with a mixture of grotesque humanity and sylvan ideal landscapes. He often travelled with other caricaturists, notably, J. Wigstead and J. Nixon. His work is always tinted pen drawings rather than full-scale watercolour, but he changed his humorous style to do drawings after the Old Masters and figures reminiscent of Thomas Gainesborough.

He was one of the major caricaturists to become an extensive book illustrator, particularly in his work for Ackermann from 1798, in The Tours of Dr. Syntax, and The Microcosm of London in 1808.

In later life, Rowlandson's quality of work tailed off, a not surprising feature of someone who was a gambler, dissolute and naturally lazy. The later drawings often show a sloppiness and lack of interest in the subject and as countless versions of one subject exist this is not wholly surprising.

He died in London in 1827.

(from The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800-1914 by Simon Houfe)

Rowlandson Portrait

Thomas Rowlandson
(1756-1827)
Pencil sketch by George Henry Harlow, 1814

 

The English Dance of Death,
from the Designs of Thomas Rowlandson
with Metrical Illustrations by the Author of "Doctor Syntax"

Printed by J. Diggens, St. Ann's Lane;
Published at R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts
101 Strand
London, 1815-1816

Original hand-coloured aquatint etchings over 200 years old!

The sheet size is approximately 5.5 x 9 inches
Original verse text to accompany each plate

Death's Dance Frontispiece

Death's Dance

[Frontispiece 1]

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$100
Death's Dance Frontispiece

The English Dance of Death

[Frontispiece 2]

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$85
Time & Death their Thoughts Impart On Works of Learning & of Art

TIME & DEATH

Time & Death their Thoughts Impart On Works of Learning & of Art

[Ref #1]

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$75
Fungus, at length, contrives to get Death's Dart into his Cabinet

THE ANTIQUARY'S LAST WILL & TESTAMENT

Fungus, at length, contrives to get Death's Dart into his Cabinet

[Ref #2]

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Such mortal Sport the Chase attends: At Break Neck Hill the Hunting Ends

THE LAST CHASE

Such mortal Sport the Chase attends: At Break Neck Hill the Hunting Ends

[Ref #3]

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Such mortal Sport the Chase attends: At Break Neck Hill the Hunting Ends

THE STATESMAN

Not all the Statesman's power or art Can turn aside Death's certain Dart

[Ref #4]

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Closed tear left side

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His blood is stopp'd in ev'ry vein, He ne'er will eat or drink again

TOM HIGGINS

His blood is stopp'd in ev'ry vein, He ne'er will eat or drink again

[Ref #5]

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$60
The Dangers of the Ocean Oer, Death Wrecks the Sailors on the Shore

THE SHIPWRECK

The Dangers of the Ocean Oer, Death Wrecks the Sailors on the Shore

[Ref #6]

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The Dangers of the Ocean Oer, Death Wrecks the Sailors on the Shore

THE VIRAGO

Her tongue and temper to subdue: Can only be perform'd by you

[Ref #7]

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$60
What do these sav'ry meats delight you? Begone, & stay, till I invite you

THE MISER

What do these sav'ry meats delight you? Begone, & stay, till I invite you

[Ref #8]

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I list you, and you'll soon be found, One of my regiment under ground

THE RECRUIT

I list you, and you'll soon be found, One of my regiment under ground

[Ref #9]

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Be not alarm'd: I'm only come To choose a wife, & light her home

THE MAIDEN LADIES

Be not alarm'd: I'm only come To choose a wife, & light her home

[Ref #10]

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I have a screct art to cure Each malady, which men endure

THE QUACK DOCTOR

I have a screct art to cure Each malady, which men endure

[Ref #11]

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more coming very soon
Drunk and alive, the man was thing, But dead & drunk, why, he is mine

THE SOT

Drunk and alive, the man was thing, But dead & drunk, why, he is mine

[Ref #12]

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When the old fool has drank his wine And gone to rest, I will be thine

THE HONEY MOON

When the old fool has drank his wine And gone to rest, I will be thine

[Ref #13]

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Yes, Nimrod, you may look aghast: I have unkennel'd you at last

THE HUNTER UNKENNELLED

Yes, Nimrod, you may look aghast: I have unkennel'd you at last

[Ref #14]

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$75
No scene so blest in Virtue's eyes, As when the Man of Virtue dies

THE GOOD MAN, DEATH, AND THE DOCTOR

No scene so blest in Virtue's eyes, As when the Man of Virtue dies

[Ref #15]

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Nature and Truth are not at strife: Death draws his picture after Life

DEATH AND THE PORTRAIT

Nature and Truth are not at strife: Death draws his picture after Life

[Ref #16]

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$75
On that illumin'd roll of fame, Death waits to write your Lordship's name

THE GENEALOGIST

On that illumin'd roll of fame, Death waits to write your Lordship's name

[Ref #17]

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$75
The Catchpole need not fear a jail, The Undertaker is his Bail

THE CATCHPOLE

The Catchpole need not fear a jail, The Undertaker is his Bail

[Ref #18]

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$75
Insure his Life. But to your sorrow, You'll pay a good, round Sum tomorrow

THE INSURANCE OFFICE

Insure his Life. But to your sorrow, You'll pay a good, round Sum tomorrow

[Ref #19]

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Death, with his dart proceeds to flog Th' astonish'd, floggin Pedagogue

THE SCHOOLMASTER

Death, with his dart proceeds to flog Th' astonish'd, floggin Pedagogue

[Ref #20]

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I'll lead you to the splendid Croud: But your next dress will be a shroud

THE COQUETTE

I'll lead you to the splendid Croud: But your next dress will be a shroud

[Ref #21]

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On with your dead: & I'll contrive To bury this old Fool alive

A CAUSETTE

On with your dead: & I'll contrive To bury this old Fool alive

[Ref #22]

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The Doctor's sick'ning toil to close, "Recipe Coffin" is the Dose

THE UNDERTAKER & THE QUACK

The Doctor's sick'ning toil to close, "Recipe Coffin" is the Dose

[Ref #23]

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Such is the power, & such the strife, That ends the Masquerade of Life

THE MASQUERADE

Such is the power, & such the strife, That ends the Masquerade of Life

[Ref #24]

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How vain are all your triumphs past, For this Set-To will be your last

THE DEATH BLOW

How vain are all your triumphs past, For this Set-To will be your last

[Ref #25]

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As it appears, though dead so long, Each scull is found to have a tongue

THE VISION OF SKULLS

As it appears, though dead so long, Each scull is found to have a tongue

[Ref #26]

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THE PORTER'S CHAIR

[THE PORTER'S CHAIR]

[Ref #27]

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Behold the signal of Old Time: That bids you close your Pantomime

THE PANTOMIME

Behold the signal of Old Time: That bids you close your Pantomime

[Ref #28]

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This is a very break Neck Heat: And Squire Jockey you are beat

THE HORSE RACE

This is a very break Neck Heat: And Squire Jockey you are beat

[Ref #29]

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Some find their Death by Sword & Bullet: And some by fluids down the Gullet

THE DRAM SHOP

Some find their Death by Sword & Bullet: And some by fluids down the Gullet

[Ref #30]

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When'er Death plays, He's sure to win: He'll take each knowing Gamester in

THE GAMING TABLE

When'er Death plays, He's sure to win: He'll take each knowing Gamester in

[Ref #31]

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Such is, alas, the common Story, Of Blood & Wounds, of Death & Glory

THE BATTLE

Such is, alas, the common Story, Of Blood & Wounds, of Death & Glory

[Ref #32]

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Plutus commands, & to the Arms, Of Doting Age, She yeilds her Charms

THE WEDDING

Plutus commands, & to the Arms, Of Doting Age, She yeilds her Charms

[Ref #33]

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On the frail Ice the willing skate, becomes an Instrument of Fate

THE SKAITERS [SKATERS]

On the frail Ice the willing skate, becomes an Instrument of Fate

[Ref #34]

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Here Honour, as it is the mode, To Death consigns the weighty load

THE DUEL

Here Honour, as it is the mode, To Death consigns the weighty load

[Ref #35]

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Though I may yeild my forfeit breath, The word of Life defies thee, Death

THE BISHOP AND DEATH

Though I may yeild my forfeit breath, The word of Life defies thee, Death

[Ref #36]

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$70

(volume II Thomas Rowlandson aquatint etchings from The English Dance of Death"

See Aslo Rowlandson Dance of Life prints here

See Also Rowlandson Dr. Syntax prints

Antique Humor and Satire prints home