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ID number:  BIRBI-48.9
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Rowlandson, Thomas (1757-1827)
Title / Object name:  Dressing for the Masquerade
Object type:  Watercolour
Place made:  London
Culture:  British
Date made:  1790
Materials:  Pencil, watercolour, pen and ink on paper
Measurements:  325 x 438 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Sotheby's, 14 July 1948, lot 119, for £90
BIRBI-48.9.jpg

Four women dress for a masquerade; according to a paper held by the dishevelled figure to the right, it is to be held at the Pantheon in Oxford Street. She is disguised as a madwoman, a common guise for masqueraders; another dresses in male attire, complete with a tricorn hat. Two other fashionable women admire their exotic masks and costumes in mirrors. They are attended by the old and ugly who point up their beauty. The overturned chair in the foreground symbolises the topsy turvy world of the masquerade and the transgressive possibilities of disguise.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Signed and dated l.l.: Rowlandson 1790

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