ROWLANDSON’S “GREATEST SUCCESS AS AN ILLUSTRATOR”: TWO TOURS OF DOCTOR SYNTAX, WITH FINE HAND-COLORED PLATES, HANDSOMELY BOUND
(ROWLANDSON, Thomas) [COMBE, William]. The Tour of Doctor Syntax, in Search of the Picturesque; A Poem. WITH: The Third Tour of Doctor Syntax, in Search of a Wife; A Poem. London: R. Ackermann, , (1821). Two volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century full tan polished calf, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, red and green morocco spine labels, all edges gilt. $900.
Later edition of the First Tour and first edition of the Third Tour of Doctor Syntax, profusely illustrated with two vignette title pages and 54 fine hand-colored aquatints by Rowlandson, handsomely bound.
This famous illustrated work parodies the popular books of picturesque travels of the day and Rowlandson’s illustrations “catch the spirit of Regency England in a lively blend of sentiment, realism, local atmosphere and occasional unexpected delicacy of feeling or character” (Harthan, 176). For many of his books, Rowlandson etched the plates himself, and hand-tinted a set of proofs as models for the publisher’s colorists. The misadventures of the elderly pedant Dr. Syntax “gave Rowlandson ample scope for the comic designs of which he was a master… No graphic artist has surpassed Rowlandson in presenting the patterned activity of day-to-day communal existence… He was equally at home realizing in line the characters of a classic novel… and the three books which deal with Syntax were his greatest success as an illustrator” (Ray, 26-27, 34). Seventh edition of the First Tour (first published 1812; Tooley 427); first edition of the Third Tour (Tooley 429). Evidence of bookplate removal.
Expected light foxing and offsetting. A fine pair of volumes, handsomely bound.