This group portrait depicts one of the most fashionable of London's pleasure gardens.
Vauxhall Gardens by Thomas Rowlandson, c. 1784
© V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)
- Pen & watercolour over pencil
- 48.2 x 74.8 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £1,000 ( Total: £5,000)
- Acquired in:
- Executors of A.E.Pearson
At the right, the Prince of Wales, the future George IV, whispers to his lover, the actress Perdita Robinson. Under the central tree figures include Captain Topham, owner and editor of the World, the Duchess of Devonshire and the Lady Bessborough, the Admiral Paisley on the Duchess's right as well as Sir Henry Bate- Dudley, editor of the Morning Herald and James Perry, editor of the Morning Chronicle, - in Highland dress - under the tree. It used to be thought that the group dining at the left depicted Dr Johnson and his party, but this is no longer sustainable. The singer above them is Mrs Weichsel, mother of the most celebrated vocal performer that England ever produced, Elisabeth Billington (1765-1818).