Thomas Rowlandson, (born July 1756, Old Jewry, London, Eng.—died April 22, 1827, London) English painter and caricaturist who illustrated the life of 18th-century England and created comic images of familiar social types of his day, such as the antiquarian, the old maid, the blowsy barmaid, and the Grub Street hack. His characters ranged from the ridiculously pretentious, with their elaborate coiffures, widely frogged uniforms, and enormous bosoms and bottoms, to the merely pathetic, whose trailing handkerchiefs expressed their dejected attitudes.
The son of a tradesman, Rowlandson became a student in the Royal Academy. At age 16 he went to study in Paris. After establishing a studio as a portrait painter, he began to draw caricatures to supplement his income, and this soon became his major interest.