Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827). "Jews at a Luncheon. Or, a peep into Duke's Place."
London, 1794. Etching. Original hand color. 7 5/8 x 9 3/4 (sheet). Margins trimmed, else very good condition. George: 8536.
Trained at the Royal Academy Schools and in Paris, Thomas Rowlandson quickly earned a reputation as a caricature expert. His sharp eye, comic renderings, and delicate use of color soon established him as one of the important English artists of his period. In order to fund his expensive, convivial lifestyle, he produced numerous prints and series of prints, poking cleverly at British society and popular culture.
This caricature shows three Jews eagerly preparing to feast on pork, forbidden under Jewish dietary laws. The title refers back to a 1777 Robert Sayer caricature titled, primarily, "Jews Receiving Stolen Goods," and, alternatively, "A Scene in Duke's Place," in which Jews are depicted purchasing stolen goods from a Jewish highwayman. Duke's Place, a street in London's East End named for the Duke of Norfolk in the 16th century, was the site of the Great Synagogue from 1690 until its destruction in 1942 during the Blitz.
Other caricatures by Thomas Rowlandson: