London: Nattali and Bond, Bedford Street, Covent Garden [through 1855], 1812. Early Reprint. Paper-Covered Boards. Ninth Edition, complete in three volumes with 80 hand-colored aquatints by Thomas Rowlandson. (Eighty-one plates are called for on the title pages, but the plate lists contain a total of only 79, with the illustrated title page in Vol. 3 unlisted. Presumably, there was an illustrated title page planned for the Second Tour but never included.) Tall 8vo's: ,272,[6, catalog of books published by Nattali and Bond]; ,277,; ,279,pp. Hand-marbled paper-covered boards, finely woven green cloth spines, matching morocco lettering pieces gilt, recently bound by Fitterer, a truly splendid production. Fine bindings; clean, wide-margined pages with only occasional offsetting; vibrant, deep, rich, fresh coloring. Abbey, Life, 265-67. Tooley 427-29. Fine. Item #BB1266
The three tours of Doctor Syntax, featuring the comic, skin-and-bone cleric at the mercy of all manner of misadventures was supposedly based on an idea of Rowlandson's close friend, the actor Jack Bannister, and with verses by William Combe, first appeared in 1812, 1820, and 1821, respectively. Combe's letterpress for Rowlandson's illustrations, produced by the prestigious publisher and art dealer Rudolph Ackermann, earned Combe his soubrette, Doctor Syntax. "Combining a light-hearted satire of William Gilpin's theory of the picturesque in art with a central character modelled on Cervantes' Don Quixote and Henry Fielding's Parson Adams, Combe created a lovable eccentric whose misadventures on the road structure the Tour. [Other sources for Syntax, drawn from the picturesque tradition, were probably Le Sage's Gil Blas and Smollett's Peregrine Pickle, as well as Samuel Butler's earlier Hudibras.] For over a century the many editions and numerous imitations of the Tour attested to the popularity of Combe's humorous hero." (ODNB) "Combe's first Dr. Syntax book (originally published in the Poetical Magazine in 1809) and its successors . . . satirize the many 18th- and early 19th-century writers whose “Tours,” “Travels,” and “Journeys” were vehicles for sententious moralizing, uninspired raptures, and sentimental accounts of amorous adventures. The popularity of Combe's work owed much to the illustrations of Thomas Rowlandson." (Britannica) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.