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Georgian satirist gets Holyrood exhibition

Holyrood Palace will host an exhibition of Thomas Rowlandson's satirical prints and drawings. Picture: TSPL

Holyrood Palace will host an exhibition of Thomas Rowlandson's satirical prints and drawings. Picture: TSPL

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

A GEORGIAN artist who made his name poking fun at politicians, foreign enemies and members of the Royal Family with his work is to be celebrated with a major exhibition at Holyrood Palace.

The Queen’s residence in the Scottish capital will play to around 100 prints and drawings by Thomas Rowlandson, the London-born painter and caricaturist.

Edinburgh has secured the first run of the exhibition, compiled by the Queen’s Royal Collection Trust, from November of this year until March 2014, ahead of it being staged at the Holbourne Museum, in Bath, and at Buckingham Palace.

The exhibition has been inspired by the personal collection of around 1000 works by Rowlandson, which King George IV started when he was a young Prince of Wales. He was also popular with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

However the exhibition will also show how George IV also attempted to suppres and censor prints which showed him in an unfavourable light.

Satirical prints were highly collectible in the 18th century, due to freedom of the press that artists enjoyed, with Rowlandson one of the most popular, with his work tackling the likes of fashion absurdities, the perils of love and political machinations.

Palace officials have described the show as “blunt, bawdy and often irreverent.”

Best known for his work for journals like the English Review and the Poetical Magazine,

Rowlandson - who famously learned to draw before he could write - also illustrated books during his career.

He had studied at the Royal Academy in London before leaving for France, where he spent two years at a drawing school in Paris.

Rowlandson had inherited money from a rich haunt but lost it due to heavy gambling and turned to drawing to help pay off his debts.

High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson opens at Holyrood Palace on 22 November.

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Scotland’s Autumn arts A-to-Z

 

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