The interior of the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens in 1754 by T Bowles.

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Coloured drawing of people congregating in the round hall

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The interior of the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens in 1754 by T Bowles.

This engraving by Thomas Bowles depicts a breakfast held in the Rotunda at Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens. This was one of the most popular places of entertainment in the 18th century. The Rotunda was vast and features included tiered boxes, a fireplace in the centre and an orchestra pit and the diameter was said to be greater than the Coliseum in Rome. Everyone in society from Princes downwards attended the lavish firework displays, the concerts and the infamous masked balls. Its popularity began to wane and the Gardens closed in 1803.

Location of original: Chelsea Print Room C505
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