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THE THREE TOURS OF DR. SYNTAX:] IN SEARCH OF THE PICTURESQUE . . . IN SEARCH OF CONSOLATION . . . IN SEARCH OF A WIFE
R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts, London 1812 - In Lusciously Handsome Gilt Morocco. 235 x 146 mm (9 1/4 x 5 3/4"). Three volumes. FIRST EDITIONS IN BOOK FORM, First Issue of First Work, with plates in the first state. REMARKABLY PRETTY SKY BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO, HANDSOMELY GILT, BY RIVIERE (signed at foot of front turn-in), covers gilt with double-ruled border, French fillet center frame, and floral cornerpieces, raised bands, spines elaborately gilt in compartments featuring elegant floral tools used for cornerpieces and centerpiece, broad and ornate gilt inner dentelles, all edges gilt. One woodcut illustration, one engraved tailpiece, and 80 ARTFULLY HAND-COLORED AQUATINT PLATES BY THOMAS ROWLANDSON (including two engraved titles). Front pastedowns with engraved bookplate of Douglas Kerr. Ray 34; Tooley 427-29. Rear joint of one volume with thin crack along bottom inch or so, two covers with faint soiling, spines evenly faded to a very pleasing blue-gray, otherwise the beautiful bindings in lovely condition, with bright gilt. Leaves opposite plates lightly offset, otherwise very fine internally, the text clean and with substantial margins, and the plates finely colored. A painter whose special forte was caricature, Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) illustrated his subjects with pen drawings that captured the foibles and fashions of his day. The Syntax "Tours" feature a pedantic clergyman and schoolmaster meeting with an onslaught of amusing misfortunes in the course of earnest holiday travels. Told through a combination of Combe's comic verses and Rowlandson's caricatures, these misadventures constituted one of the most popular literary publications of the 19th century. The original "Tour" was conceived of as a parody of the books of picturesque travels then enjoying considerable popularity. When it met with a great response itself due to Rowlandson's comic art as much as to Combe's verses, two more tours followed: using the loss of Syntax's wife as plot motivation, the publishers issued "In Search of Consolation" and then "In Search of a Wife." Even this could not sate the public, and a number of imitations of the Syntax books were issued. William Combe (1741-1823), satirist, journalist, and society man, had travelled in his younger years with Sterne on the second lap of his "Sentimental Journey." An author who specialized in writing verses made to order for the creations of comic artists, he was just the man to provide the textual accompaniment for Rowlandson here. While later editions of these works (often with dreadfully worn out plates) can rather easily be found, it is difficult to find the first printings, and especially difficult in such handsome bindings as offered here. FIRST EDITIONS IN BOOK FORM, First Issue of First Work, with plates in the first state [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2014-10-08           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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