Hand-coloured print representing a chaotic scene in Hyde Park with soldiers practising shooting next to members of the public who are caught off-guard and try to flee. Horses rear up, a couple falls to the ground, another couple and their dog scatter to avoid being trampled. Inscribed in the plate: Drawn & Etch'd by T Rowlandson / Aquatint by T. Malton
It was said that the amount of copper Thomas Rowlandson etched would sheathe the British Navy. An inveterate gambler, for much of his life Rowlandson had to produce a flood of his comic prints to stay ahead of financial losses. A wealthy uncle and aunt raised Rowlandson after his textile-merchant father went bankrupt. His career developed quickly. 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. He left school in 1778 to set up in business. Rowlandson's depictions of life in Georgian England exposed human foibles and vanity with sympathy and rollicking humour. During the 1780s he consolidated the delicate style he used for his coarse subjects. He worked mainly in ink and watercolour, his rhythmic compositions, flowing line, and relaxed elegance inspired by French Rococo art. In 1789, at the height of critical and popular success, Rowlandson's aunt died, leaving him a large sum. He ran through the money quickly, travelling across Europe and gambling: by 1793 he was impoverished. His fortunes changed in 1797, when he began working for fine-art publisher Rudolph Ackermann, who published most of Rowlandson's finest work for twenty years.
Thomas Malton, "the younger", was an English painter of topographical and architectural views, and an engraver. Works by Malton can be found in the UK Government art collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, Somerset; the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia etc.
Sources: The J. Paul Getty Museum; Dictionary of National Biography; Wikipedia.
Artist/Etcher: Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) / Aquatint: Thomas Malton the Younger (1748-1804).
Medium: Hand-coloured etching with aquatint.
Condition: Very good condition. Some light foxing.
Dimensions: 41.7 x 59 cm. / 16 ¼ x 23 ¼ in. (sheet).
Frame: 62 x 80 cm. / 24 ½ x 31 ½ in. Matting and glass.
Origin: United Kingdom.