London: R. Ackermann, 1813. Third edition. A presentation copy from William Combe inscribed: "To Miss Emily Gouldsmith, with the affectionate regards of the Author." Additionally, Combe has written and initialed a short sonnet for Miss Gouldsmith: "As Gilead's plant in ev'ry season gives | Its balmy fragrance to the ambient air; | And still continues while its foliage lives | To yield its inexhausted perfume there; | So may those charms which in life's early day, | Please the chaste eye and wake the feeling heart, | Continue still through Life's protracted day | From youth to age their virtues to impart. | And when you read, within the Muse's page, | O may My Memory soothe your gentle breast; | Whether I still tread Life's long, ling'ring stage; Or in the peaceful tomb my ashes rest." Given many years later by Emily Gouldsmith to Lady Helen Filmer.
A modern full red morocco binding with raised bands, gilt titling and gilt inner dentelles. Complete with frontispiece, title page and 29 additional plates, all engraved by Rowlandson and hand colored. Binding in Fine condition with trivial bumps to the corners. Internal contents are generally excellent, but with the occasional spot or tanning to a page.
The first book in the Dr. Syntax trilogy and the first work illustrated by Rowlandson to gain widespread recognition. Rowlandson's trademark caricature style blended perfectly with Combe's sarcastic wit. The author and illustrator worked in collaboration to create a biting mockery of the prevalent travelogue, in fashion among many of their contemporaries. Dr. Syntax, first published serially in Ackermann's Poetical Magazine, would become immensely popular with English readers in the early 19th century. Extremely scarce presentation copy, surprisingly underrepresented in the auction record where we can trace only a few examples of Combe’s ink. (Item #1058)