Courtesy of the Science Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA
Courtesy of the Science Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA

'Dr Syntax and his wife making an experiment in pneumatics', print, London, England, 1820

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From the Collection


Aquatint, col. 'Dr Syntax and his Wife Making an experiment in Pneumatics'. Plate [15] from 'Dr. Syntax in Paris' [W Combe, 1820]. platemark 15x23cm, image 11x19cm. Caricature, scene dancing in drawing room, Nooth? chemical apparatus on lower left. In frame 29.5x35.5x1.5cm

Titled ‘Dr Syntax and his Wife making an experiment in pneumatics’, the scene shows a party experimenting with laughing gas in a parlour filled with anatomical drawings and scientific apparatus. Laughing gas (nitrous oxide) parties were popular in the 1820s and 1830s, before the gas was used as an anaesthetic in dentistry in the mid 1850s and 1860s. The coloured aquatint is from a work entitled 'Dr Syntax in Paris; or a tour in the Search of the Grotesque; being a Humorous delineation of the Pleasures and Miseries of the French metropolis' by William Combe (1742-1823). The illustrations are by Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827), a British artist and caricaturist.

Additional Makers: William Combe

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Courtesy of the Science Museum

From the Watercolour World


London, England