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Thomas Rowlandson (London 1756-1827)
Thomas Rowlandson (London 1756-1827)

At the pillary, Newbury, Berkshire

Thomas Rowlandson (London 1756-1827) At the pillary, Newbury, Berkshire pencil, pen and ink and watercolour, on paper, on the artist's original mount, on paper 8¼ x 12 5/8 in. (21 x 32 cm.)
B.T. Batsford, London, where acquired.
London, Tate Gallery, 1928, on loan.

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Lot Essay

This is a slightly smaller version of a watercolour now in the Yale Center for British Art collection at New Haven (B1977.14.334). The composition is different in several respects, the present version having the additional detail of two boys scrambling up the market cross to get an elevated view of the unfortunate occupant of the pillory. A further version was sold at Christie's London, 12 November 1996, lot 24: this was on paper watermarked 1816, and therefore considerably later than the present watercolour. The fourth of the known versions was formerly in the collection of B.T. Batsford. This subject has sometimes been identified as Wokingham, but a comparison with an oil of The Old Town Hall, Newbury (unidentified early 19th century artist, West Berkshire Museum, acc. no. NEBYM:1981.49) indicates that the setting is Newbury, although Rowlandson has taken liberties with architectural details.

Rowlandson also made the pillory the focal point of his view of Charing Cross, in London, for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-11).

A note on the verso records that the present drawing was on loan to The Tate Gallery at the time of the flood of 7 January 1928 but escaped without damage.

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