An interesting and amusing early 19th century Thomas Rowlandson etching which was published in William Combe’s The Tour of Doctor Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (London: R. Ackermann [Repository of Arts], 1812/1813).
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) was an acclaimed British artist and caricaturist. Born and educated in London, he then studied drawing both at the Royal Academy and in Paris under Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. He gradually built up a reputation as a talented artist but a gambling addiction led to his impoverishment. To revive his fortune, and from advice from his friend, James Gillray, he became a caricaturist. Largely employed by the art publisher, Rudolph Ackermann, Rowlandson produced many fine drawings and etchings.
Amongst his most well known works were the three ‘Tours’ of ‘Dr. Syntax’. All written by William Combe, the first of these, The Tour of Doctor Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, was published in 1812. This was an amusing but good natured parody of the famous countrywide tours made by the Reverend William Gilpin (1724-1804). Gilpin had, through his many publications and illustrations, developed an artistic style and aesthetic ideal known as the ‘picturesque’.
In his search for the ‘picturesque’, however, the amiable Doctor gets himself into a whole array of awkward and undignified situations including being robbed, chased by an angry bull and falling into a cold lake. Despite these many misadventures he remains undeterred and, with his spirits still intact, manages to finish his tour.
The popularity and success of the first ‘Tour’ saw the publication of two additional tours: Dr Syntax in Search of Consolation’ and Dr Syntax in Search of a Wife, published in 1820 and 1821 respectively.
- This is an original etching and aquatint with original hand colour.
- Printed area is approximately 19cms by 13cms.
- The print is in very good condition with decent margins. There is some slight grubbiness to the plate. Click on image for a better view.
- The item comes displayed in a ready to frame museum quality mount.
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- Guaranteed to be over 200 years old.