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 Thomas Rowlandson  (1756 - 1827)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: illustration, landscape

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
A squall in Hyde Park, London
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Thomas Rowlandson was born in London, England on July 14 in either 1756 or 1757. He first exhibited a drawing when he was only eighteen, and soon both Sir Joshua Reynolds and Benjamin West were praising him. But serious painting on a large scale never suited the Rowlandson temperament. Next to his work, he liked to drink and gamble, and after his money was gone, he would draw saleable drawings, prints, illustrations and watercolors. Being so much in demand, he often worked too fast for quality; at his best his strokes were sure, his delicate palette always in harmony.

Rowlandson occupied a unique position at the opposite pole from the majority of English watercolor painters, who were indifferent to the human element in the landscape. His sense of caricature at times recalls the great brutality of 18th century life. He worked with prodigious speed in a not always successful effort to keep himself out of debtors' prison. Nothing escaped his penetrating eye; no artist has left so full a record of any period as his of Georgian and Regency England. What is sometimes overlooked is that for all his cockney gaiety and urban sophistication he had a remarkably tender and sensitive eye for the rural scene. He died in London.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Time Magazine, February 23, 1962
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures: English Water Colors

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