Media File
Thomas Rowlandson
Date: English caricaturist and watercolorist, c.1756–1827
Biography: English artist and caricaturist. He entered London's Royal Academy Schools in 1772, visited Paris in 1774, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1775, and won a silver medal in 1777. Friendships with James Gillray and Henry William Burnbury led him to focus on caricature. His sharp depictions of life in Georgian England exposed human foibles and vanity with sympathy and rollicking humor. He worked mainly in ink and watercolor, his rhythmic compositions, flowing line, and relaxed elegance inspired by French Rococo art. In 1797 he began working for fine-art publisher Rudolph Ackermann, who published most of Rowlandson's finest work for twenty years.

Ackerman 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. 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.