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Thomas Rowlandson

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Thomas Rowlandson

The Doctor Sketching the Lake

Pen and watercolor drawing for "The Schoolmaster's Tour" in The Poetical Magazine (May 1810) with text by William Combe; reprinted in book form as The Tour of Doctor Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (1812)

4 11/16 x 7 9/16 inches (120 x 192 mm.)

Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr.

2006.24: 2
Item description: 

William Gilpin's success in popularizing the Picturesque inspired this parody by Rowlandson working in collaboration with the hack writer William Combe. Following Gilpin's example, the curate-schoolmaster Dr. Syntax visits picturesque locales in hopes of making his fortune by publishing a book about his artistic adventures. He views fashionable attractions, such as a country churchyard and a Gothic ruin, but the hapless pedant overlooks the true beauty of his surroundings and instead blunders into a series of comic predicaments and ridiculous situations. This pratfall in the Lake District is a typical example of the accidents he endures, sketchbook in hand.