Elderly Gentleman and Young Girl Seated on a Couch, c. 1785
pen and grey ink with watercolour over graphite on laid paper, laid down on heavy laid paper
21.5 x 22.2 cm; image: 21.5 x 25.1 cm (extends 3.1 cm onto mount at r.)
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3229)
One of Rowlandson's favourite comic devices was to juxtapose contrasting characters in his drawings, for instance, young women and lecherous old men. He must have been at once repulsed and fascinated by all things hideous, because he was at his best as a draughtsman when scrutinizing the worst excesses of humanity. He loved the picturesque crags and hollows of an ugly face, and seemed as bored with prettiness as the woman in this picture is bored with her suitor.