|Method||Etching and aquatint with hand colouring|
|Published||Published 1st May, 1812, at R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 101, Strand.|
|Dimensions||Image 107 x 191 mm, Sheet 150 x 240 mm|
An early printing of this humorous University satire, set within a college hall resembling that of Christ Church College, Oxford, Dr Syntax sits at the Fellow's table set to the right of the image. Advancing from the left, a procession of servants wearing gowns make a hash of serving the dinner.
From William Combe's The Tour of Doctor Syntax in search of the picturesque. Begun in 1809, the poem was first published in 1812, and several editions were printed over a period of around 80 years. The poem was a satirical take on the 18th-century aesthetic concept of the 'picturesque' and its frequently pompous followers. Dr Syntax, a curate, begins a journey to discover the ideal picturesque landscape, but is constantly met by inconveniences. Inspired by Thomas Rowlandson's caricatures, it is fitting that the poem is accompanied by aquatints by Rowlandson.
Thomas Rowlandson (1756 - 1827) was an English watercolourist and caricaturist. Born in London, the son of a weaver, Rowlandson studied at the Soho Academy from 1765. On leaving school in 1772, he became a student at the Royal Academy and made the first of many trips to Paris where he may have studied under Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. In 1775 he exhibited the drawing Dalilah Payeth Sampson a Visit while in Prison at Gaza at the Royal Academy and two years later received a silver medal for a bas-relief figure. As a printmaker Rowlandson was largely employed by the art publisher Rudolph Ackermann, who in 1809, issued in his Poetical Magazine The Schoolmaster's Tour, a series of plates with illustrative verses by Dr. William Combe. Proving popular, the plates were engraved again in 1812 by Rowlandson himself, and issued under the title The Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque. By 1813 the series had attained a fifth edition, and was followed in 1820 by Dr Syntax in Search of Consolation, Third Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of a Wife in 1821 and also in the same year by The history of Johnny Quae Genus, the little foundling of the late Doctor Syntax. Rowlandson also illustrated work by Smollett, Goldsmith and Sterne, and for The Spirit of the Public Journals (1825), The English Spy (1825), and The Humorist (1831).
BM Satires 11513
Condition: Repaired tear to bottom margin, some time toning and foxing to sheet.