The dance of death: the battle. Coloured aquatint after T. Rowlandson, 1816.

  • Rowlandson, Thomas, 1756-1827.
Part of:
English dance of death, from the designs of Thomas Rowlandson, with metrical illustrations, by the author of "Dr Syntax".
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About this work


Sudden death in the family, as depicted by Rowlandson, was the experience of many people in civil life: Thomas Rowlandson's younger brother James was one of 150 people killed in an explosion when the ship the Duke of Atholl unexpectedly blew up in Madras harbour (Chennai) in 1783. But when looking at this particular print we should bear in mind the Napoleonic wars: the battle of Waterloo was fought on 18 June 1815, with great loss of life. This battle scene might be considered one of the least amusing prints in the whole series


[London] : [Ackermann]

Physical description

1 print : aquatint, with watercolour ; image 12.1 x 21.4 cm

References note

J.R. Abbey, Life in England in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860, San Francisco 1991, no. 263.


Wellcome Collection 31900i

Creator/production credits

In 1814 the humorous artist Thomas Rowlandson started to create a distinctive "English Dance of death": Rowlandson produced watercolours of contemporary scenes showing death, and William Combe (a writer) wrote verses describing the scenes. In addition to Combe's verses, each aquatint is accompanied by a couplet in English verse by an unidentified author, and the aquatints were coloured in watercolour by unkown hands. The combined pictures and texts were published by Rudolph Ackermann from his shop in the Strand, London, at a rate of three prints a month from 1 April 1814 to 1 March 1816



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