Thomas Rowlandson

British, b.1757, d.1827

And So To Bed

  • 1798
  • Watercolour
  • Purchased, 1971
  • 114 x 180mm
  • 71/48

A team of devoted domestic servants attends to the central character in a pictorial narrative created by satirist and caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson in 1798. And So To Bed presents a logical finale in The Comforts of Bath series; most works in it were reproduced as hand-coloured aquatint etchings, though this scene never developed beyond a watercolour sketch. Following the sojourn of an indulgent tourist in the fading spa town, the etched larger sequence shows the gout-ridden protagonist riding a horse in nearby meadows, at the Bath Pump Room, in a doctor’s surgery, at a private concert, a fish market, a portrait studio, a gambling house, a gourmet dinner, a ball at the Assembly Rooms and the famous thermal baths. Rowlandson himself was no stranger to the gamut of available vices and is known to have had a particularly reckless addiction to gambling.

(Leaving for Work, 2 October 2021 - 1 May 2022)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • This original sketch is possibly from the series ‘Mr Bramble’s Visit to Bath’, which Thomas Rowlandson produced between 1790 and 1798. One of England’s great satirists, he recorded with sympathy and good humour the follies that he both saw and shared in Regency England. Rowlandson’s style was purely his own. He would draw a bold outline with a reed pen in a tint composed of vermilion and Indian ink. The general effect of chiaroscuro (light and shade) was then washed in, and the whole work was then slightly tinted. Born in London, Rowlandson’s talent was soon evident in the caricatures he did of his teachers and fellow pupils at school. He began studying at the Royal Academy Schools in 1772, before being sent to Paris in 1774. On the death of a wealthy aunt in 1780, Rowlandson inherited seven thousand pounds and other valuable property, which he eventually gambled away. He was a prolific artist and produced a remarkable number of works.