Thomas Rowlandson was born in 1756 in London’s Old Jewry. He was raised by his wealthy, silk-merchant uncle after his own father went into bankruptcy. In 1772, he attended the Royal Academy in Paris, where he gravitated towards caricature and social satire. When his aunt died in 1789, Rowlandson inherited a great fortune, but squandered it during several ruinous years filled with gambling. He began to rebuild his career in 1797, using a looser, broader style that was in high demand for prints and periodicals.
After the turn of the century, Rowlandson began producing numerous profitable projects for the publisher, Rudolph Ackermann. In 1809, Ackermann issued a series of plates by William Coombe in his magazine “The Schoolmasters Tour”. The plates were engraved again in 1812 by Rowlandson and issued under the title of “The Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque”. By 1813, the series had attained a fifth edition and it was followed in 1820 by, “Dr. Syntax in Search of Consolation” and in 1821 by, “The Third Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of a Wife”.
Rowlandson also illustrated Goldsmith, Smollett and Sterne, designs that can be found in “The Spirit of the Public Journals” (1825), “The English Spy” (1825) and “The Humourist” (1831). Rowlandson died in London in 1827.