Thomas Rowlandson was born in July 1756 in London, the son of a tradesman or merchant. He is best known for his caricatures and satirical depictions of people of his time. He was a student at the Royal Academy and at the age of 16, lived and studied in Paris. His portfolio includes numerous and often very funny renderings of life and characters.
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
A common feature of satire is strong
or sarcasm—"in satire, irony is militant"—but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This "militant" irony or sarcasm often professes to approve (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of expression, including literature, plays, commentary, and media such as lyrics.
"Thomas Rowlandson’s designs were usually done in outline with the reed-pen, and delicately washed with colour. They were then etched by the artist on copper, and afterwards aquatinted—usually by a professional engraver, the impressions being finally coloured by hand."
Rowlandson was a talented artist, but when he became destitute due to excessive gambling his hastily over produced art suffered in quality. His more careful drawings of the earlier part of his career attest to his talents as a draftsmen. His work does not cover many political issues, but rather the various aspects and incidents of social life.