Rowlandson at the Holburne

Making use of our Art Pass we visited an exhibition of Rowlandson’s satirical prints at the Holburne.

I just had to take a picture of this one:

Britain vs France
Britain vs France

Click to enlarge and enjoy the text.  I think that many would think that the description of that which Britannia stands for is still valid.  The characterisation of France is perhaps no longer fair but for many authoritarian and dictatorial states it is.

One of the most interesting pieces was actually a large screen in four panels that was an example of the “cut & paste” style popular then.  Various figures and scenes from Rowlandson’s prints had been cut out and pasted onto a screen to make a coherent design and then varnished.  The idea was that not only did it act as a screen but also that, because it held many rather risque images, it could easily be folded away in more delicate company.

Prints were big business in Georgian times with many being sold in either black and white or colour versions and as bound collections.  For those unable to afford them prints were often on display in print sellers’ windows acting as a kind of 18th century “Hello” magazine satirizing the celebrity, society figures of the day including the royal family.

4 thoughts on “Rowlandson at the Holburne

  1. steve February 14, 2015 / 10:00 am

    Interesting that “equality” is listed as a French “vice”! Seems to be pretty much the view of our lords and masters today.
    Don’t think much of Rowlandson’s grammar – Which is “best”. Perleease!


    • Toby the Cat February 14, 2015 / 10:20 am

      Hadn’t noticed the “equality” bit. Clearly that won’t appeal to your everyday dictator.


  2. Mark McIntyre February 21, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    is the use of the word perhaps in any way uncharitable? ”The characterisation of France is perhaps no longer fair”


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