Thomas Rowlandson (Londra, 14 luglio 1756 – Londra, 22 aprile 1827) è stato un disegnatore e caricaturista inglese.
BiografiaStudiò alla Royal Academy ed ebbe i primi successi con l'esibizione nel 1784 di un suo disegno ambientato nel quartiere londinese di Vauxhall. Si diede quindi all'illustrazione ed alla caricatura, con disegni talora con sfondo erotico; nella sua vasta produzione compaiono illustrazioni di lavori di Smollett, Goldsmith e Sterne.
Non si occupò molto di politica, al contrario del suo contemporaneo James Gillray, ma illustrò con un tocco gentile i vari aspetti della vita comune. I suoi lavori più validi artisticamente sono quelli del primo periodo, ma anche negli ultimi lavori, talora pesantemente caricaturali, si possono cogliere aspetti validi.
Morì nella sua casa di Londra al numero 1 di James street e fu sepolto al cimitero di St Paul's in Covent Garden.
Ritratto di Thomas Rowlandson ad opera di George Henry Harlow
BiographyRowlandson was born in Old Jewry, in the City of London. He was baptised on 23 July 1757 at St Mary Colechurch, London to William and Mary Rowlandson. His father, William, had been a weaver, but had moved into trading supplies for the textile industry and after overextending himself was declared bankrupt in 1759. Life became difficult for him in London and, in late 1759, he moved his family to Richmond, North Yorkshire. Thomas' uncle James died in 1764, and his widow Jane probably provided both the funds and accommodation which allowed Thomas to attend school in London.
Rowlandson was educated at the school of Dr Barvis in Soho Square, then "an academy of some celebrity," where one of his classmates was Richard Burke, son of the politician Edmund Burke. As a schoolboy, Rowlandson "drew humourous characters of his master and many of his scholars before he was ten years old," covering the margins of his schoolbooks with his artwork.
In 1765 or 1766 he started at the Soho Academy. There is no documentary evidence that Rowlandson took drawing classes at the mainly business-oriented school, but it seems likely, as on leaving school in 1772, he became a student at the Royal Academy. According to his obituary of 22 April 1827 in The Gentlemen's Magazine, Rowlandson was sent to Paris at the age of 16 (1772), and spent two years studying in a "drawing academy." there. In Paris he studied drawing "the human figure" and continued developing his youthful skill in caricature. It was on his return to London that he took classes at the Royal Academy, then based at Somerset House.
Rowlandson spent six years studying at the Royal Academy, but about a third of this time was spent in Paris where he may have studied under Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. He later made frequent tours to the Continent, enriching his portfolios with numerous sketches of life and character. In 1775 he exhibited a drawing of Dalilah Payeth Sampson a Visit while in Prison at Gaza at the Royal Academy and two years later received a silver medal for a bas-relief figure. He was spoken of as a promising student. On the death of his aunt, he inherited £7,000 with which he plunged into the dissipations of the town and was known to sit at the gaming-table for 36 hours at a stretch.
In time poverty overtook him; and the friendship and examples of James Gillray and Henry William Bunbury seem to have suggested caricature as a means of earning a living. His drawing of Vauxhall, shown in the Royal Academy exhibition of 1784, had been engraved by Pollard, and the print was a success. Rowlandson was largely employed by Rudolph Ackermann, the art publisher, who in 1809—issued in his Poetical Magazine The Schoolmaster's Tour—a series of plates with illustrative verses by Dr. William Combe. They were the most popular of the artist's works. Again engraved by Rowlandson himself in 1812, and issued under the title of the Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, they had attained a fifth edition by 1813, and were followed in 1820 by Dr Syntax in Search of Consolation, and in 1821 by the Third Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of a Wife. He also produced a body of erotic prints and woodcuts.
The same collaboration of designer, author and publisher appeared in the English Dance of Death, issued in 1814–16 and in the Dance of Life, 1817. Rowlandson also illustrated Smollett, Goldsmith and Sterne, and his designs will be found in The Spirit of the Public Journals (1825), The English Spy (1825), and The Humorist (1831).
Rowlandson's designs were usually done in outline with the reed-pen, and delicately washed with colour. They were then etched by the artist on the copper, and afterwards aquatinted—usually by a professional engraver, the impressions being finally coloured by hand. As a designer he was characterised by his facility and ease of draughtsmanship. He dealt less frequently with politics than his fierce contemporary, Gillray, but commonly touching, in a rather gentle spirit, the various aspects and incidents of social life. His most artistic work is to be found among the more careful drawings of his earlier period; but even among the exaggerated caricature of his later time we find hints that this master of the humorous might have attained to the beautiful had he so willed.
His work included a personification of the United Kingdom named John Bull who was developed from about 1790 in conjunction with other British satirical artists such as Gillray and George Cruikshank.
His patron and friend Matthew Michell collected hundreds of his paintings which Michell displayed at his country residence, Grove House in Enfield, Middlesex. After Michell's death his nephew, Sir Henry Onslow, sold the contents of Grove House at an eight-day sale in November 1818. One of the most well-known of Rowlandson's paintings is "Hengar House the seat of Matthw Mitchell [sic] Esqr., Cornwall" (1812) which was sold at the Sir Richard Onslow sale, Sotheby's, 15 July 1959. Another of Rowlandson's paintings is "Glorious Defeat of the Dutch Navy Octr 10 1797, by Admirals Lord Duncan and Sir Richard Onslow, with a View Drawn on the Spot of the Six Dutch Line of Battle Ships Captured and Brought into Yarmouth" (1797). Rowlandson also painted early scenes of Brighton where Michell's sister, Lady Anne Onslow, lived after the death of her husband Sir Richard Onslow, 1st Baronet. Rowlandson's painting "Mr Michell's Picture Gallery at Grove House, Enfield" was sold by Sotheby's, London, on 4 July 2002.
Rowlandson died at his lodgings at 1 James Street, Adelphi, London, after a prolonged illness, on 21 April 1827. He was buried at St Paul's in Covent Garden on 28 April 1827 aged 72 years.
Caricature by Thomas Rowlandson
erotic caricature engraving with caption "Solomon enjoys himself with two pretty Christian girls"
Thomas Rowlandson - Giant's Causeway, Antrim, Ireland
Thomas Rowlandson - Giant's Causeway, Antrim, Ireland
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827 ): Modern Pygmalion
"I shall conquer this" Watercolor of Henry Angelo's Fencing Academy, by Rowlandson, 1787. The famous fencer the Chevalier St. George's portrait, foils, and fencing shoes are displayed on the right wall.
"A Peep at the Gas-lights in Pall Mall", a humorous caricature of reactions to the installation of the new invention of gas-burning street lighting on Pall-Mall, London. Dialogue in caricature: Well-informed gentleman "The Coals being steam'd produces tar or paint for the outside of Houses -- the Smoke passing thro' water is deprived of substance and burns as you see." Irishman "Arragh honey, if this man bring fire thro water we shall soon have the Thames and the Liffey burnt down -- and all the pretty little herrings and whales burnt to cinders." Rustic bumpkin "Wauns, what a main pretty light it be: we have nothing like it in our Country." Quaker "Aye, Friend, but it is all Vanity: what is this to the Inward Light?" Shady Female "If this light is not put a stop to -- we must give up our business. We may as well shut up shop." Shady Male "True, my dear: not a dark corner to be got for love or money."
Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Creator: Rowlandson, Thomas, 1756-1827, printmaker. Title: A counciller Rowlandson. Published: [London] : Pub. Jany. 1st, 1801 by S.W. Fores, No. 50 Piccadilly,  Description: 1 print on wove paper : etching and stipple, hand colored ; plate mark 34.7 x 24.5 cm., on sheet 39 x 26 cm. Notes: Printseller's announcement following publication statement: Folios of caracatures [sic] lent out for the evening. | S.W. Fores' ownership stamp located in bottom right corner of sheet.
A man, three women, a horse and a dog urinate on a dirt road.
A Jew Broker by Thomas Rowlandson, 1789
A Jew Broker by Thomas Rowlandson, 1789
A woman disengages from man after sex, just as an old woman enters.
A black soldier has intercourse with a woman churning milk
Dr Syntax was a comic character drawn by Thomas Rowlandson but the story was by William Combe
A couple has sex in a doorway, while another woman watches, touching herself. A man in an upper window watches her.
Recital ofrecido por la soprano inglesa Elizabeth Billington en los jardines de Vauxhall de Londres el 22 de junio de 1785. Grabado de Thomas Rowlandson.
Such Things are or a peak into Kensington Gardens
Illustration from English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century, by William Rodgers Richardson (writing as Graham Everitt) Drawing by Thomas Rowlandson Captioned "All the Talents" Originally published 1807-04-18
Rural Sports or Coney Hunting (pun between similar-sounding words for "female genitalia" and "rabbit")
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827): Fast Day
Two school masters are brought to the ground by a rope pulled across their path by pupils on each side of the corridor. Coloured etching by Thomas Rowlandson after himself. Iconographic Collections Keywords: Thomas Rowlandson
Caricature of Emma Hamilton as an artists' model, with reference to her famous "Attitudes" (poses in imitation of classical antiquity).
Three grisly distillers with streams running from their noses and mouths into a tub of "double rectified spirits". Coloured engraving, c. 1811, after T. Rowlandson. Iconographic Collections Keywords: Thomas Rowlandson
A woman exposes herself in a tent
THE DEVONSHIRE, or Most Approved Method of Securing Votes, by Thomas Rowlandson. It is shown in the British film, The Duchess, in the scene where the Duchess and Charles Grey lie in bed reviewing the papers.
A man and a woman drink wine while having intercourse in front of a fireplace. In the background, another couple have sex in a curtained bed.
An old man lifts a young woman's skirts to look at her vulva
England, 1794 Drawings Pen and brown ink and colored washes William Randolph Hearst Collection
Brooklyn Museum - The Market Place - Thomas Rowlandson
A young man and woman have intercourse in a stable
While two couples sport in secret, two angry women chase away animals mating
A young man and woman have intercourse on a couch. A man holding a gun and a servant watch from the door
A young man and woman have intercourse outside on a blue piece of cloth
"With women and wine I defy every care" "For life without them is a volume of aire" (?)
A man with an erection plays a fiddle and a woman lifts her dress as she dances. In the background, another man and women couple while the man also plays a fiddle; a woman plays a tambourine, a man uses a chamberpot and a woman washes clothes.
A group of men and women have sex in and around a tent.
Soldiers line up to have sex with a plump woman.
Artwork by Thomas Rowlandson. Two couples have sex in a boat on the beach, while in the background a standing woman urinates.
A woman holds two angry men by their erections
A man discovers his wife in congress with a Harlequin. The clown prepares to hit him with a club.
A man and woman perform on a stage in public. The man balances silverware on his erection and the woman lifts her dress. A little devil plays music.
A woman lowers herself onto the erection of a man
Venus's Bathing (Margate) A woman swimming in the sea; in the background people are looking out to sea from cliffs and a beach. The lettering says;Side Way or any Way. Iconographic Collections Keywords: Beach scene; Nude; Thomas Rowlandson; Thomas Rowlandson
Plaque erected in 1950 by London County Council at 16 John Adam Street, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6HE, City of Westminster