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Thomas Rowlandson, William Combe
Dr. Syntax sits on his horse at the center of the engraving, holding an open sketchbook and pen; an open umbrella appears to be tucked under his arm. A local fisherman and his dog stand behind him; before Syntax, on the water, a man rows three tourists in a boat, two of them women.
William Combe, Thomas Rowlandson
Doctor Syntax Tumbling into the Water was first published in the inaugural issue of Poetical Magazine (1809), along with the rest of Combe’s poem, “The Schoolmaster’s Tour.” It was later bound in book form (May, 1812). Dr. Syntax falls backward off his rocky seat into the water.
In collaboration with William Combe
Dr. Syntax falls backward off his rocky seat into the water. Though his hat has fallen into the water, he still clutches his pen and journal: he has evidently been sketching the moss-covered ruins of the castle crowning the small hill before him.
George Sidney Shepherd
Commenting on Romantic ruin painting, Louis Hawes states that medieval ruins were popular subjects for topographical artists and watercolorists. Indeed, the portfolios of Samuel Prout and Samuel and Nathaniel Buck—trained topographers of the Romantic era—all include medieval ruins.