Thomas Rowlandson

Ode for the New Year

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Thomas Rowlandson 1756–1827
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 190 × 231 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

This drawing was made whilst Rowlandson was working on a print satirising George III and his Poet Laureate, Joseph Warton. Warton's New Year Ode for 1787 was lampooned in Peter Pindar's poem Ode upon Ode.

On the right is the masked figure of the clown, Harlequin. He has whacked the rump of the winged horse, Pegasus, a traditional emblem of poetic flight. The King falls backwards from his saddle, his hands in the air, while his hapless poet falls to the ground.

Gallery label, September 2004

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