1813 Poetical Sketches of Scarborough; with 21 hand-colored plates etched by T. Rowlandson after Green sketches. Pochoir.


A delightful travel narrative, based on humorous sketches drawn by James Green during a stay in Scarborough. His sketches were so popular with his friends it instigated this work. To bring Green's sketches to print, etchings were executed by T. Rowlandson and verse was added by the authors Dr. Combe, Rev. Francis Wrangham, and Mr. Papworth. Then each illustration was hand-colored (pochoir)!

The combination of Rowlandson and Combe revived a previous partnership of great success (The Tour of Dr. Syntax).

From The Monthly Review, Griffiths, 1813 (p.72-74): “Formerly, poets furnished ideas to the painter; now, the case is altered, and the professors of the pictorial art stimulate the genius of the poet. So far, the volume before us, though not exactly on the plan of the Tour of Dr. Syntax, came into existence under similar circumstances. It appears that Mr. Green, the artist, during a visit to Scarborough in the season of 1812, made various pleasing and humorous sketches of the most striking objects which presented themselves at that celebrated watering-place ; and that some of his poetical friends, to whom they were shewn, undertook the task of illustrating and giving them effect by appropriate sketches in verse. Some of these chapters, we are informed, proceed from the pen of Dr. Combe, the versifier of Dr. Syntax's Tour; four are written by the Rev. Francis Wrangham; and the remainder by Mr. Papworth, the engraver.”

Though this work illustrates "Scarborough", it is universal in depicting a place of vacation with frivolous activities, awkward and humorous scenes, and activities outside one's general comfort zones.

This copy is in (likely) original boards, and protected by a wrapping sleeve which slides into a slipcase decorated in book form.

The pochoir style of coloring the illustrations means no two copies are exactly alike.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 23.5 x 14.5 x 2 cm, octavo. Crushed calf binding, with a hint of straight-grain, and triple gilt fillet borders to the boards. The spine has "Scarbro" in gilt on red leather overlay in one compartment; flat spine with other compartments delineated by gilt fillets. All edges marbled. Marbled endpapers.

I counted, all twenty-one illustrations are present.

Second edition.

Pages - flyleaf, (2), frontis, [viii], xv, 215, (2), flyleaf.

Signatures - (2), four unsigned, a4, b4, B4-Z4, Ee4, (2).

Condition -

See pictures. Vintage patina, with the pleasing look of history. Use wear, with edge chips, rubbing, corner wear, etc.. Darkening and some cracks to spine. Front joint and hinge entirely cracked, bands holding it on; book now housed in a wrap/slipcase combo.

Numerous bookseller marks on blank unpaginated endpapers, and a 1st edition's old catalogue description is tipped-in. Title page ghosted with frontis, "Major Gillan" at top (no text affected), thumbing fore-edge bottom.. Some toning to pages throughout, occasional fox spot as typical to this period's paper. Plates ghost facing page throughout. Dog-eared top corner 133. Thumb on 149, 190.

If not for the ghosting of the painted plates, the margins are wide and the pages are white. While contemporary bindings cracked, the book is a handsome example with its colorful illustrations and wide clean margins.

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