Musée No:325.190

Musée No:325.190

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Venus, Anchises and Cupid

Artist: Thomas Rowlandson
Date:1780-1827

Thomas Rowlandson (1757 –1827) was an English artist and caricaturist of the Georgian Era, noted for his political satire and social observation of life in 18th-century England. A prolific artist and printmaker he also produced a large number of illustrations for novels, medical and humorous books. His caricatures are often robust or bawdy and included the rich and powerful of the day like the Duchess of Devonshire, William Pitt the Younger and Napoleon Bonaparte. Rowlandson became a student in the Royal Academy in 1772 and at 16 left for Paris to study "the human figure". On the death of his aunt, he inherited £7,000 with which he lost gambling, he was known to sit at the gaming-table for 36 hours at a stretch. With poverty looming his friends and caricaturists, James Gillray and Henry William Bunbury, suggested that this portraitist should draw caricatures to help to make ends meet; this soon became his main focus. Rowlandson’s designs were usually executed in outline with pen and ink, then delicately washed with colour. They were then etched by the artist on copper and afterward aquatinted professionally. 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, Gillray and George Cruikshank.

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