“DOCTOR SYNTAX’S RE-APPEARANCE IN SOCIETY, IN A COSTUME OF THE APPROVED MODERN CUT”: FORRESTER’S ILLUSTRATED TOUR OF DR. SYNTAX, 1838
(FORRESTER, Alfred Henry) COMBE, William. Tour of Doctor Syntax in Search of the Picturesque. London: Ackermann, 1838. Thick octavo, early 20th-century full blue close-grain morocco gilt, raised bands, all edges gilt; original cloth bound in at rear. $450.
First edition with the Forrester (“Crowquill”) illustrations, of the first of Combes’ famous parodies of the popular travel books of his day, with frontispiece, engraved title page, seven full-page plates and numerous in-text wood-engravings.
“William Combe wrote and edited between the years 1773 and 1823, upwards of 100 books, conducted or contributed to a score of journals, and furnished— if we may believe his own note-book— fully 2,000 columns of matter to the newspapers and magazines of the time” (J.C. Hotten). His famous Tours are parodies of the popular books of picturesque travels of the day. First illustrated by Thomas Rowlandson, Combe’s character Dr. Syntax is a lovable eccentric whose misadventures on the road structure all of the subsequent Tours. This 1838 edition of the Tour in Search of the Picturesque is the first to appear with Alfred Forrester’s illustrations. “With the setting sun of Rowlandson,” notes the preface, “the taste for his broad, luxuriant, but too exaggerated vein of caricature has also gone down;… whilst the facilities afforded by the art of engraving on wood… have opened to the artist a new field… The task of qualifying Doctor Syntax for a re-appearance in society, in a costume of this, the approved modern cut, has been confided to the ingenious and talented Alfred Crowquill, who, it is hoped, will be deemed to have brought out his protege with eclat.” With 16 pages of publisher’s advertisements at the rear.
A fine copy, handsomely bound, with only a few shallow scratches to front board.