Kick Up at a Hazard Table

Thomas Rowlandson British
Publisher John Harris British

Not on view

Men from a range of social classes gather to play Hazard, an old English dice game (from which modern craps descends). Tensions have erupted into violence after a British officer, standing at right, has suffered a substantial loss. He aims a pistol at an elderly Frenchman, identified by his long pigtail, who responds in kind to protect his winnings. To stave off disaster, a third gambler prepares to bring down a chair on the officer, while another soldier aims a bottle and candlestick at the Frenchman. Rowlandson’s vortex-like arrangement conveys the disruptive forces that gambling sets loose and his expressive use of tonal aquatint and added color in this rare pre-publication state of the print accentuate the drama. At the time he produced this print the artist was himself steadily wagering away a substantial legacy received in 1789 and was destitute by 1793.

Kick Up at a Hazard Table, Thomas Rowlandson (British, London 1757–1827 London), Hand-colored etching and aquatint

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