Thomas Rowlandson revelled in the comedy of everyday life, emphasizing the ridiculous and the ribald in his creations and focusing on human appetites - eating, drinking and amorous relationships.

The Temple of Ancient Virtue still stands as a significant Buckinghamshire landmark at Stowe (owned by the National Trust). Rowlandson, ever liking a visual pun, has clearly delighted in linking the idea of male 'ancient virtue' with the scantily clad bacchantes in classical dress that fill the foreground of the composition. This watercolour is a valuable addition to the Museum's important collection of material by artists closely connected to Stowe.


Private collection, USA, late 1950s/early 1960s; Lowell Libson, 2005; private collection, 2008; Lowell Libson.

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