The Miseries of Social Life
Rowlandson developed a cast of stock characters—clumsy academics, shrewish wives, penniless artists, drunken foxhunters—who appear in multiple projects, blurring the distinction between drawings for Miseries and those for later series.
Most of the Rowlandson drawings in the Library’s collection differ from their counterparts among the published etchings, but Miseries of Social Life was reproduced exactly. These riotous scenes of crowded drinking parties turned up often in his prints, illustrating a favorite pastime of Rowlandson’s—until his money ran out. The text is transcribed directly from Beresford’s book in the artist’s own unruly handwriting, both personalizing the scene and emphasizing its disorder.
Miseries of Social Life: Dining, and Passing the Whole Evening with a Party of Fox Hunters . . .Thomas Rowlandson, British, 1756/57–1827
Miseries of Social Life: Dining, and Passing the Whole Evening with a Party of Fox Hunters . . ., 1807
Gentleman Drinking from a JugThomas Rowlandson, British, 1756/57–1827
Gentleman Drinking from a Jug,
Voyage en France: Hôtel de FlandreThomas Rowlandson, British, 1756/57–1827
Voyage en France: Hôtel de Flandre,
Doctors DifferThomas Rowlandson, British, 1756/57–1827