This aquatint by Joseph Constantine Stadler was made after a collaborative watercolour, painted by Auguste Charles Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson. Pugin drew the architectural scenes, while Rowlandson added the characters. It is one of a series of aquatints which illustrated 'The Microcosm of London', a magnificent architectural and topographical book on the city of London. Published by Rudolph Ackermann, 'Microcosm' was issued in monthly parts from 1808 to 1810, eventually comprising three volumes and over 100 illustrative plates.
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.
Exhibition of Water Coloured Drawings, Old Bond Street
published 1 September 1808
Purchased from Christie's, 22 January 1954
With Agnew’s Gallery, London; by whom sold through Christie’s, London, 22 January 1954 (Lot 21; with GAC 2558-2583, 2585); from which sale purchased by Richard Walker on behalf of the Ministry of Works
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