Art: The Pursuits of Pleasure

"He has covered with his never-flagging pencil enough of charta pura ((white paper)) to placard the whole walls of China, and etched as much copper as would sheathe the British Navy." So ran one obituary for Thomas Rowlandson when he died in 1827 at the age of 70. It was not far off. This recorder of the life of Georgian and Regency England left a prodigious number of watercolors, drawings and prints behind him -- perhaps 10,000, though nobody has ever counted them up -- and there is no catalogue raisonne of his work.

The idea of a "complete" Rowlandson retrospective...

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