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Michael "Angelo" Rooker, 1746–1801

A Game of Bowls on the Bowling Green Outside the Bunch of Grapes Inn, Hurst, Berkshire

Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor and graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 8 1/4 x 10 7/8 inches (21 x 27.6 cm)

Signed in black ink, lower left: "MA Rooker"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | ball games | benches | bowls | castle | dog (animal) | fence | genre subject | hats | inn | leisure | men | trees
Associated Places:
Berkshire | England | Hurst | St. Nicholas Hurst | United Kingdom
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

Michael "Angelo" Rooker's drawing depicts a rather more sedate if less thrilling sporting activity, the game of bowls. Dating back to the Middle Ages, and still popular in Britain today, bowls is played on grass by rolling heavy balls, known as "woods" so that they rest as closely as possible to the target ball, known as the "jack." The woods have a built-in bias that causes them to move in a curving rather than a straight trajectory. Bowling greens were frequently attached to country inn. In his Account of a Visit to Hurts of 1747, James Belchin described a convivial evening at the Bunch of Grapes: "This house is very pleasantly situated, and has belonging to it a large and handsome bowling-green for the diversion of those gentlemen who please to play. Being all assembled together we sat down and smoked our pipe and drank some wine in a very sociable manner."

Gillian Forrester

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 109 cat. no. 90

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Pleasures and Pastimes (Yale Center for British Art, 1990-02-21 - 1990-04-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Pursuit of Happiness - A View of Life in Georgian England (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-09-18) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Robert Colls, This sporting life : sport and liberty in England, 1760-1960, Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K., 2020, pp. 123, 373, GV706.35 .C65 2020 (LC) YCBA [ORBIS]

Judy Egerton, L. G. Duke and his collection of English drawings, Old Water-Colour Society's Club Annual Volume, vo. 49, 1974, pp. 10, 24, pl. I, N12 .O54 A1 + Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Elisabeth Fairman, Pleasures and pastimes, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, 1990, p. 39, no. 317, DA485 F25 1990 (YCBA) [YCBA]

J. H. Plumb, The pursuit of happiness : a view of life in Georgian England : an exhibition selected from the Paul Mellon collection, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, pp. 65, 134, no. 159, N6766 Y34 1977 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 109, no. 90, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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