John Raphael Smith.
Mr. Bowden in the Character of Robin Hood.
10¾ x 15 inches
Who can resist the lure of the stage: the smell of greasepaint, the thrill of a first night and the adrenalin of a standing ovation? Mr. Bowden, a cotton manufacturer from Manchester, certainly couldn't! In what looks like a classic mid-life crisis he left the factory floor in his 45th year and headed for the bright lights of London where, for one glorious season, he performed as Robin Hood in the eponymous comic opera at Covent Garden. An accomplished tenor, we see him here in the heart of Sherwood Forest, in foppish hat and with bow in hand, delivering the pivotal line "You know the wrongs I have suffered..." Surrounded by his Merry Men, Mr. Bowden would have sung such rousing ballads as "Oh Cheerily Sounds the Hunter's Horn" and "The Tinker's Song". What fun he would have had! His thespian aspirations were but short lived and sadly he turned his back upon the stage, eschewing all for the security of a nine-to-five. In this print, however, he represents all those who, even momentarily, broke free to follow their dream. He died a stockbroker in 1823.£750