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Drawing From Life at the Royal Academy, (Somerset House), after Thomas Rowlandson

19th Century
10 1/2 in. x 13 in. (26.67 cm x 33.02 cm)

Augustus Charles Pugin, French, (ca. 1762–1832)
Thomas Rowlandson, British, (1756-1757–1827)

Object Type: Works on Paper
Creation Place: Europe, England
Medium and Support: Colored aquatint on paper
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. R.E. Lewis
Accession Number: 1957.18
Drawing from Life at the Royal Academy, (Somerset House) (1808) is a colored aquatint print created through the cooperation of the artists Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson, who made the work for Rudolf Ackerman’s topographical book Microcosm of London. Its depiction of an art class in the Royal Academy lends the piece towards an examination of both the British education system and of the advancements of printing brought on by the Industrial Revolution—and how those two topics intersect. On the one hand, the 19th century—the period in which this piece was created—was a time of debate over the merits of classical versus scientific education. The Royal Academy, a London art school, would have naturally fallen in with the classical education model, which favored art. On the other hand, the printing of this piece—using the technique of aquatint—was only possible because of scientific advancements. The existence of this piece thus brings together both the classic and the modern—with eye-pleasing results.

--Marie-Elena Brower, Spring 2013

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

  • Image Dimensions: 7 5/8 in. x 10 in. (19.37 cm x 25.4 cm)
  • Mat Dimensions: 16 in. x 20 in. (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm)
  • Sheet Dimensions: 10 1/2 x 13 in. (26.67 x 33.02 cm)

Bibliography List
This object has the following bibliographic references:

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