Excise Office, Broad Street
Coloured aquatintpublished 1 February 1810
About the work
This interior view shows the Excise Office, from where taxes on the sale of goods were administered. It was published as part of 'The Microcosm of London'. Accompanying text explains that the ‘government, in the year 1767, purchased Gresham College of the Corporation of London, on the site of which was erected the present Excise Office in Old Broad-Street…’
The building was in use until 1849, when the Board of Excise became part of the Inland Revenue department at Somerset House. In 1909 Excise alone was amalgamated with Customs to become HM Customs and Excise. Almost 100 years later, in 2004, the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise merged to form HM Revenue and Customs, and moved to 100 Parliament Street, Westminster, their current headquarters.
About the artist
Thomas Rowlandson, caricaturist and draughtsman, attended the Royal Academy Schools. After his studies he worked in watercolours and developed a style influenced by Gainsborough and French Rococo art. From 1784 he received commissions for publications and later gained the patronage of the Prince of Wales. He also produced satirical images, illustrating well-known scandals and characters. Despite gaining a substantial inheritance in 1789, by 1793 he was in poverty. However, his financial worries eased when he received commissions from Ackermann, which led to his involvement with A. C. Pugin in ‘The Microcosm of London’. Rowlandson later produced sketches for the adventures of ‘Dr Syntax’ (1812-21), also published by Ackermann.