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The tour of Doctor Syntax in search of the picturesque, a poem

William Combe

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Spine title: The tour of Dr. Syntax to the Lakes


2nd edition


London: R. Ackermann's Respository of Arts, 1812

Physical Description

iii, 275 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

General Note

Colophon: Diggens, printer, St. Ann's Lane, London.
With hand-coloured plates from etchings by Thomas Rowlandson
The engraved title page carries no makers name. The frontispiece states "Rowlandson del." The following plates are numbered 1 to 29 and are "Design'd & Etch'd by Rowlandson." All plates carry the publication date of 1st May 1812.

Summary Note

The Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque is a story of a fictional, rural schoolmaster and pastor who attempts to make his fortune by going travelling, and then writing and illustrating a book about his experiences of quaint and unusual places.

The story is told in the form of verse, written by William Combe, a prolific English writer of miscellaneous prose and satirical verse, and illustrated with colour plates by Thomas Rowlandson. Combe wrote the text to elucidate the illustrations.

It was first published in 1809 in serial form in Rudolph Ackermann's The Poetical magazine as The schoolmaster's tour. The work was first collected into book form 'by popular demand' in 1812, and was reprinted a number of times during the following decades.

This collaboration of designer, author, and publisher went on to produce a further two 'Tours': The Second Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of Consolation (1820), and The Third Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of a Wife (1821).

Copy Note

Lacking p.iii of the Advertisement


Thomas Rowlandson, draughtsman, etcher
Rudolph Ackermann, publisher

Images from this book

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