May 312014

Any of you who have bought my book on Astley’s Circus will know that I am a fan of the delightful  drawings by Thomas Rowlandson, made available by the excellent Yale Centre for British Art. I am intending to use more with my latest venture, an illustrated introduction to the Georgian era, due for publication later this year.


While researching Rowlandson’s work I came across this delightful watercolour (undated) entitled “New Shoes” and it shows a young man – presumably a student judging by the mortar board which he is holding in his hand. And what is he studying? The finely turned ankles of the young maid, who has proudly invited him to inspect her new shoes.

I love the background details – the cat licking from the bowl of milk on the sideboard, the older man leering in at the scene from outside the window, and the girl herself, who appears to be about to fall out of the front of her dress.

It is such a simple scene of everyday life – young man chats up girl;  girl enjoying flattery and attention.  Love it!

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