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William Combe (1742 - 1823)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Writer and literary imitator. Chiefly remembered as the author of The Three Tours of Doctor Syntax, a comic poem, illustrated by Thomas Rowlandson’s colour plates. Combe also wrote a series of imaginary letters, supposed to have been written by the second, or “wicked” Lord Lyttelton. Of a similar kind were his letters between Swift and “Stella”.

Son of Robert Combes (d. 1756), a prosperous wholesale ironmonger, and his wife, Susanna Hill (d. 1748), daughter of a wealthy Quaker merchant. Rejecting his mercantile origins later in life, he changed the spelling of his last name to Combe and signed himself ‘esquire’, affecting the status of a gentleman.


Born: 25 March 1742 in London

Died: 19 June 1823

Gender: Male

Associated books

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