The Beauties of Stowe: Bacchantes dancing and lounging by the Temple of Ancient Virtue by Thomas Rowlandson

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.


Pen, ink & watercolour on paper
27.1 x 42.2 cm
Art Fund grant:
£5,000 ( Total: £22,500)
Acquired in:
Lowell Libson

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.

Venue details

Buckinghamshire County Museum 9 Church Street, AYLESBURY Buckinghamshire HP20 2QP 01296 331441

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass

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