The Social Day

Thomas Rowlandson, 1812

LL 3989

About this object

'The Social Day' is an elegant composition probably influenced by Rowlandson's trip to Paris in 1774 while he was a student. It is drawn with his usual deftness of touch but is thought to also resemble the work of Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788).

The three figures dancing together on the grass on the far right are possibly meant to represent the mythological Three Graces, the daughters of Zeus.

The watercolour retains the mannered Rococo style that is characteristic of Rowlandson's landscapes. The elongated neo-classical figures seen in this drawing began to appear in his work after 1800.

Another version of this watercolour, also titled 'The Social Day', was etched for 'Rowlandson's World in Miniature' which was published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764 - 1834) in 1816. The compositions are very similar but the print has more of a sense of caricature and emphasises the drinking and frivolity in the scene.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Thomas Rowlandson (British: English, born:13 July 1757, died:21 April 1827)
  • Date
    1812
  • Materials
    Watercolour; Pencil; Pen; Ink; Paper
  • Measurements
    image: 14.5 cm x 23.5 cm
  • Physical description
    A landscape view depicting a number of figures, including a group seated at a picnic on the left, a smaller group playing musical instruments slightly to the right and three figures dancing on the far right. There is a bridge crossing a small meandering river on the right in front of a copse of trees.
  • Related people
    Gooden and Fox (Previous owner); John Postle Heseltine (Previous owner); William Hesketh Lever (Previous owner); Thomas Rowlandson (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    Accession Number: LL 3989; Collection Number: WHL 4176
  • Credit line
    Purchased by William Hesketh Lever in 1920
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Lady Lever Art Gallery collections

Explore related

Publications

  • British Watercolours and Drawings: Lord Leverhulme's Collection in the Lady Lever Art Gallery

    Jessica Feather

    Author: Jessica Feather
    Publisher: Liverpool University Press & National Museums Liverpool
    Date: 2010
    Description: Lord Leverhulme's Collection catalogue of Watercolours and Drawings in the Lady Lever Art Gallery

Ownership

Previous owners

  • William Hesketh Lever

    Owned from: 1920
    How acquired: Purchased from Gooden and Fox
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Gooden and Fox

    Owned from: 1920
    How acquired: Purchased from Sotherby's for William Hesketh Lever on 25 March 1920
    Owned until: 1920
    Disposal method: Sold to William Hesketh Lever
  • John Postle Heseltine

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1920
    Disposal method: Sold at Sotherby's on 25 March 1920

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: Rowlandson 1812
    Inscription method: Watercolour
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower right
  • Inscription text: Engraved 1816
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower left
  • Inscription text: The Social Day / Engraved 1816
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Centre
  • Inscription text: T. Rowlandson / 12 x 18 / Keep (illeg.)
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower right
  • Inscription text: j; p; H
    Inscription method: Stamp?
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Centre
Object view = Fine Art
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