Thomas Rowlandson

Two O’Clock Ordinary

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Thomas Rowlandson 1756–1827
Graphite, ink and watercolour on paper
Support: 219 × 348 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

This gentle satire shows a public eating house or 'ordinary', where a meal was provided at a fixed time and a set price. Needless to say, the atmosphere is chaotic. The diners eagerly attack the food, tussling with their neighbours to get their fill. A print from Rowlandson's drawing was published in 1811. There, the eating house is identified as Hornsey Wood House, which offered an 'ordinary' on Sundays at 2 pm: 'Hot roast and boiled from two to five/ Dinners drest on the shortest notice'.

Gallery label, September 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

You might like