‘High Spirits’ by Kate Heard

26discovery - Writes Discovery and New England Literary News in The Boston Globe Books section every Sunday. (Handout)


The English caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson, who died in 1827, satirized the royal family, British aristocracy, and legions of politicians, and social climbers. His colors are rich, his wit biting. Both are in ample supply in “High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson” (Royal Collection Trust) by Kate Heard. He delighted in drawing characters who can’t quite fit in their clothes and need a servant’s help buttoning up. Some targets tried to suppress his work, but at least one prince collected it, though come to think of it, maybe he merely wanted to keep Rowlandson’s parodies out of the public eye.


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