Long Thomas and Mad-le G-d Going to the Pantheon in Their Natural Masks
William Austin (British, London 1721/33–1820 Brighton)
May 1, 1773
plate: 11 3/4 x 14 3/4 in. (29.8 x 37.4 cm)
sheet: 12 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (31.8 x 40 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917
Not on view
In 1773 drawing-master William Austin experimented with the new British print form of caricature and satirized members of London society. This design pokes fun at Sir Thomas Robinson, known as "Long Sir Thomas," who managed Ranelagh Gardens, a popular entertainment center that established masquerades (masked balls) as part of London’s social calendar. In 1773 Long Thomas was in his seventies and here wears an old-fashioned suit to lead his elderly mistress to the Pantheon, London’s newest fashionable gathering spot. That building also held masquerades and the print jokes that Austin and his companion have grown so ugly and short-sighted that their actual faces now function as masks.
Inscription: in plate below image: "Pubd as ye Act Directs May 1st 1773"; in plate upper right: "Long Thomas and Mad-le G-d going to the Pantheon in their natural masks"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.
British Museum Satires VI.5116
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. 81, p. 115, ill.