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Rowlandson & Pugin aquatint. Published Ackermann's 1809

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Directory: Fine Art: Prints: Etchings: Pre 1837 VR: item # 1218785

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Rowlandson & Pugin aquatint. Published Ackermann's 1809
This is a very fine hand-coloured aquatint from Rudolph Ackermann’s “The Microcosm of London". It shows Friedrich Christian Accum, the pioneer of gas lighting, giving a lecture at the Surrey Institution.

The Surrey Institution was a short-lived organization constituted along the lines of the Royal Institution. Founded in 1807, its stated purpose was "diffusing the knowledge and facilitating the general introduction of useful mechanical inventions and improvements, and for teaching by courses of philosophical lectures and experiments the application of science to the common purposes of life." It was based at The Blackfriars Rotunda on the Surrey side of the river Thames in London, hence the name “Surrey Institution". This print shows the 500-seat galleried lecture hall with its fine Doric marble columns. The Institution was not successful for long though, and financial difficulties led to its disbandment in 1823. The Rotunda was demolished in 1958.

“The Microcosm of London" contained over a hundred coloured aquatint plates showing London life. For these, the figures were drawn in gentle caricature by Thomas Rowlandson, one of the most famous satirical artists of Georgian England, and the architectural backgrounds were drawn by Augustus Pugin, a French émigré artist and architectural draughtsman who was father to the great Gothic Revival architect, A.W.N. Pugin. A preliminary proof of each etched plate was printed, and this was then coloured in by Pugin and Rowlandson. Using these hand coloured proofs as a guide, the plates were inked in shades of grey, brown and ochre and the prints made. The remaining colours were then added by hand.

A copy of this print is in the British Government Art Collection (GAC number 2571). It is currently at the British Deputy High Commission at Chennai, India.

The condition is basically good except for a pucker in the paper at lower left which extends about 2" into the image – this is visible in the photo. It does not really detract all that much, but it is there. There is light foxing, but not affecting the image.

This is a genuine antique print, over 200 years old. It is not a reproduction.

Please note that the digital watermark on the photographs here is NOT on the original print.

Artist: Thomas Rowlandson (English 1756-1827) / Augustus Charles Pugin (Anglo-French 1762-1832)
Printmaker: Thomas Rowlandson / Augustus Pugin / Joseph Constantine Stadler
Title: “Surrey Institution”
Type of print: Etching and aquatint with hand colour.
Publication details: “The Microcosm of London", R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 1809
Size of image (including inscription) 9" by 10.25"
Size of plate 9.25" by 11"
Size of sheet 10.75" by 13"

Unless otherwise stated above, prints are sold unmounted (not matted) and unframed. Photos showing a print mounted and/or framed are for illustration only unless specifically described otherwise.

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