A DRAUGHTSMAN who astutely observed characters of the Regency world he inhabited has his drawings exhibited at the Richmond museum this month.

Without Exception is at the Museum of Richmond from August 5 to September 28 and allows visitors to see a selection of original prints by Thomas Rowlandson of 'The English Dance of Death' [1815-1816].

One of Britain’s best loved draughtsmen, Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) was an astute observer of the lively Regency world that he knew so intimately. In these drawings Rowlandson was to display the true capability of his unique imagination while interpreting the theme in an unorthodox manner, using the idea of the Dance of Death to make social comment on the cultural life of his day.

His drawing style and his use of finely etched and subtly coloured print is in stark contrast with the mediaeval tradition of the theme. In his studies 'Ladies of the town' are surprised by Death (always a skeleton) dressed as a Beau, and here also are the Sot, the Shrew, and the Gamester; Bailiffs, Doctors, Duellists, 'Maiden Ladies', Politicians, Seamen, Servants, Sportsmen - indeed all types, from the exalted to the humble, are depicted confronting their nemesis.

Some object "The time's not right", some look surprised, some are chagrined, some are ready, but all are depicted with the lighthearted touch of the artist's pen.

There is no pathos in these prints and Rowlandson treats the subject, if not in a cavalier and lighthearted fashion then as a social observer saying ‘‘c’est la vie”.

The selection of prints in the exhibition currently on at Richmond Museum are considered examples of Rowlandson at his best, combining his unique artistic facility in line with his inimitable approach to social commentary.

The exhibition, Without Exception, will be on show at the Museum of Richmond, Old Town Hall, Richmond until Sunday 28th September.

For further information contact 8332 1141.