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Thomas Rowlandson, 1756–1827
Place des Victoires, Paris
Additional Title(s):

La Place Des Victoires

La Place des Victoires [Paris]
ca. 1783
Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor in pen and black ink over graphite on medium, moderately textured, cream antique laid paper
Sheet: 13 3/4 x 21 inches (34.9 x 53.4 cm), Image: 13 3/4 x 21 inches (34.9 x 53.4 cm)

Watermarked, center on back (horizontal): [Strasburg Lily]

Lettered center left within image (on plinth): "LOUIS LE GRAND"

Inscribed in graphite, lower right on back: "IR 516"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | building | carriages | carts | cathedral | celebration | chaos | cityscape | costume | dogs (animals) | figures | French | genre subject | Grand Tour | humor | monk | music | musician | plaza | satire | satirical | sculpture | snakes | statue | street | victory | violin | violinist | walking
Associated Places:
Europe | France | Notre-Dame | Paris | Place des Victoires | Île-de-France
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

The iniquities and excess of the ancient régime France were a popular target for British satirical art (see cats. 83-4). Thomas Rowlandson's watercolor draws on a number of stereotypes commonly associated with the French at this period - the suppositious adherence to the Catholic faith, indicated by the procession of monks and the looming presence of Notre-Dame (flaunting topographical accuracy, Rowlandson has placed the cathedral immediately behind Place de Victoires); an unquestioning devotion to the monarchy, signaled by the man in the sedan chair gazing raptly at the monument erected to Louis XIV in 1686; and a frivolous attachment to sartorial sonsiderations, represented by the fashionably dressed figures and the poodle dog wearing a wig. Two other versions of the composition are known, but it is likely that cat. 86 was the original watercolor exhibited by Rowlandson at the Society of Artists in 1783. The image was engraved and published in Britain shortly after the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, presumably in response to the considerable public interest generated by the tumultuous events in France. Rowlandson clearly derived pleasure from ridiculing the French and produced many watercolors on this theme, but his relationship with France seems to have been more complex than his John Bullish stance might suggest. Raised by his French-speaking aunt Jane (née Chevalier), Rowlandson visited the country on a number of occasions, and his sophisticated and refined drawing style, which often seems at odds with his robust subject matter, owes much to French rococo art.

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. 105, cat. no. 86, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Thomas Rowlandson from the Paul Mellon Collection (National Sporting Library and Museum, 2005-04-14 - 2005-06-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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]

English Caricature - 1620 to the Present (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-09-01 - 1985-11-13) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Caricature - 1620 to the Present (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985-06-04 - 1985-09-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Caricature - 1620 to the Present (National Gallery of Canada, 1985-02-26 - 1985-05-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Caricature - 1620 to the Present (The Library of Congress, 1984-11-13 - 1985-02-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Acquisitions : The First Decade 1977-1986, Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1986, pp. 5, 29, no. 118, color plate 6, N590.2 A7 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Baker, The marble index : Roubiliac and sculptural portraiture in eighteenth-century Britain, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2014, pp. 28, 30, 35, fig. 31, NB466 .B355 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Richard T. Godfrey, English caricature, 1620 to the present : caricaturists and satirists, their art, their purpose and influence, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1984, p. 75, no. 83, NC1477 .G63 E54 [ORBIS]

Algernon Graves, The Society of Artists of Great Britain, 1760-1791, and The Free Society of Artists, 1761-1783 : a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from the foundation of the Societies to 1791, Kingsmead Reprints, Bath, 1969, p. 219, no. 223, N5053 G73 1969 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Patrick Noon, A Princely Amateur, Paul Mellon and his Collection of British Drawings , Master Drawings, vol. 38, no. 3, Master Drawings Association, Inc., Fall, 2000, p. 342, fig. 4, NC1 M37 (YCBA) Another copy available as item VF 2329 [YCBA]

Mathew Thomas Payne, Regarding Thomas Rowlandson, 1757-1827, his life, art & acquaintance , Hogarth Arts, London, 2010, pp.65,132,140..., Pl. III, NJ18 R79 P39 2010 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Duncan Robinson, Acquisitions : The First Decade 1977 - 1986, , Burlington Magazine, vol. 128, October 1986, pp. 5, 29, no. 118, col. pl. 6, N1 B87 128:3 OVERSIZE (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. 105, no. 86, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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