The Social Day

LL 3989


'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.