Henri Merke (Swiss, Niederweningen, canton Zürich ca. 1760–after 1820)
After Thomas Rowlandson (British, London 1757–1827 London)
Published by Rudolph Ackermann (London)
February 10, 1799
Etching and aquatint with hand coloring
sheet: 13 3/16 x 15 1/2 in. (33.5 x 39.4 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1959
Not on view
The protracted Anglo-French conflict between 1792 and 1815 prevented British artists from exploring the Continent. Instead, many sought vistas at home, encouraged by William Gilpin’s influential book Observations relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty (1786). Rowlandson’s image parodies a strenuous tour made through Wales in August 1797 with the caricaturist Henry Wigstead. A published account describes constant fog and rain, rough roads, poor lodgings, spartan food and wild country folk. In this image, a tall, thin, figure–possibly intended for Wigstead–balances on a small pony. Man and beast are laden with artistic paraphernalia, all inadequately shielded from the downpour. A rustic family watches in amazement; for them the artist presents a much more interesting spectacle than the scenery.
Inscription: Inscribed in plate: "Rowlandson delin. / Merke sculp. / London, Pub'd Feb'y 10, 1799 at R. Ackermann's, 101 Strand, London"
Francis Harvey (British, active by 1859–died 1899); C. W. Dyson Perrins(sale Sotheby's London, Jan. 12, 1959); Vendor: Sotheby's, London, Jan. 12, 1959
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.
Grego I.360 and II.395; British Museum Satires 9445
Frederic George Stephens, M. Dorothy George Catalogue of political and personal satires preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. 11 vols., London, 1870-, vol. VII, cat. no. 9445.
Joseph Grego Rowlandson the Caricaturist: A selection from his works, with anecdotal desciptions.... 2 vols., London, 1880, vol. I, p. 360, vol. II, p. 395.
Nadine Orenstein, Constance C. McPhee Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine Exh. cat.: September 13, 2011 - March 4, 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2011, Entry by Constance McPhee, cat. no. 97, pp. 130-131, ill.