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Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)

A Midnight Conversation c.1780

RCIN 913713

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A watercolour of drunken revellers seated around a small circular table. On the left a man has collapsed between two women, one of whom embraces him. In the centre of the table, an older woman wearing a cap clutches a large punch bowl and on the far right, a woman leans over her male companion to vomit on the floor. A bust is on the wall on the left and a large picture hangs in the background. This early drawing, made shortly after Rowlandson left the Royal Academy Schools, pokes fun at the ‘Conversation Piece’, a fashionable form of group portrait. Here, a drunken, debauched party is shown in the private room of a tavern. Many of the motifs are copied from prints by Hogarth, among them the lounging man to the left, who is taken from plate three of 'A Rake’s Progress'.