Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Draws on MET on Line

Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Draws

Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Prints:  T.R. was born in Old Jewry, a London Jewish quarter, the son of a merchant. He entered the Royal Academy and at 17 he traveled to Paris to study. He toured all over Europe making drawings and notes of other cultures

Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Draws on MET on Line
Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Draws on MET on Line

In 1776 he exhibited a drawing called Delilah visiting Samson in prison. His career as a painter was interrupted by a stroke of good luck as he received an inheritance of £ 7,000. He became so obsessed with card games that he lost all inheritance. It is said that he once sat playing for 36 hours straight

Thomas Rowlandson’s Bankrupt

Rowlandson was bankrupt and the need to earn money led to the production of satirical cartoons. Associated with the editor Rudolph Ackermann designed numerous illustrations, mostly humorous, that made him very popular.

His first great success was the series on The School Teacher (Dr. Syntax), a humorous narrative in verse written by William Combe. This character was unveiled in 1809 in a version illustrated by installments. The publisher Ackermann published in 1812 an improved version in book format, with 30 Rowlandson prints.

This first account (Dr. Syntax’s ‘tour’ in search of the picturesque) was followed by two sequels: Dr. Syntax in search of comfort (1820) and In search of a wife (1821). Both were produced in collaboration with the writer Combe and Rowlandson.

Erotic Illustrations Almost Pornographic

The artist approached political criticism as Hogarth had done but the greatest success is his erotic illustrations, so explicit that they are described as like almost pornographic.

In 1814-16 he created a humorous and updated version (English, according to its title) of the Dance of Death, a theme of medieval origin that had become popular in the sixteenth century by various recorded series such as that of Hans Holbein the Younger.

Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Prints on MET on Line
Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Prints on MET on Line

Haunted by his continued financial straits, Rowlandson continued to design numerous illustrations, with ever-decreasing quality.Unlike most nineteenth-century European illustrators, he used to personally engrave his plates. Rowlandson etched the main lines, and other specialized engravers added touches to the aquatint.Once stamped, the sheets were hand-colored, with many variations of tones but respecting the guidelines set by Rowlandson and the editor.

Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Illustrations on MET on Line
Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Illustrations on MET on Line

There are many Rowlandson prints around the world. One of the most extensive (almost 2,500 engravings) is on display at the MET in New York

Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Draws on MET on Line
Thomas Rowlandson Erotic Draws on MET on Line

Rowlandson died at his house in London on 21 April 1827. He was buried at St Paul’s, Covent Garden on 28 April 1827 aged 70 years.

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