The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcombe, by Thomas Rowlandson
Johnny Newcombe learns to smoke and drink grog

Thomas Rowlandson drew before he could write and by the time he was ten he was spending all his free time drawing. At age 16 he left for France where he spent two years at a drawing school in Paris. In 1777, Rowlandson opened a studio in Wardour Street where he established himself as a portrait painter. Rowlandson also travelled a great deal in Europe where he drew pictures of his experiences. In the 1780s Rowlandson painted fewer portraits and tended to concentrate on drawing.

Dr. Syntax at the races in York, by Thomas Rowlandson
Dr. Syntax loses at the races in York

He created some cartoon sequences that can be seen as forerunners of the modern comic: for instance 'The Tours of Dr. Syntax' (written by William Combe) and 'The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcombe' were among the first regular cartoon characters. Also 'The Loves of the Fox and the Badger' and the 'Coalition Wedding', both from 1784, utilized frames, captions and balloons. Thomas Rowlandson died on 22nd April 1827.

The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcombe, by Thomas Rowlandson
Johnny Newcombe writes a letter to his mother

The Military Adventures of Johnny Newcombe
Thomas Rowlandson gallery

Series and books by Thomas Rowlandson in stock in the Lambiek Webshop: