The English Dance of Death: Thomas Rowlandson’s Scathing Memento Mori 1814-1816
The Danse Macabre probably arose in early 15th century Europe as a response to the widespread deaths caused by The Black Death plague. The English Dance of Death by Thomas Rowlandson was released in under-subscribed installments between 1814 and 1816.
A series of 96 hand-coloured engravings that gravitate between grotesque and humorous were perhaps more than a little ambitious, even for this pair, says Paul K, who had already achieved great popularity with their Dr. Syntax comical publications a few years earlier. The remainedered subscriptions were bound in 2 volumes for general sale. There was a 3rd Dance of Life book issued later.
Death, who never sleeps, uses his time to keep abreast of fashion and dreaming up new creative ways to die. This delights him no end, because Death is always smiling.