Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with other elderly people, taking laughing gas in the house of a tooth-drawer in Paris. Coloured aquatint, 1820.

  • Combe, William, 1742-1823.
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About this work


Dr. Syntax waves his wig in the air while the others present dance and laugh, having inhaled from the huge flask of nitrous oxide on the left

Physical description

1 print : aquatint, with watercolour ; image 10.8 x 18.9 cm


Doctor Syntax and his wife making an experiment in pneumatics

References note

W.D.A. Smith, 'A history of nitrous oxide and oxygen anaesthesia part III: Parsons Shaw, Doctor Syntax and nitrous oxide', British journal of anaesthesia, 1965, 37: 958-966
British Museum, Catalogue of political and personal satires, vol. VIII, London 1947, nos. 11507-11516 & 11672-11689; also J. Grego, Rowlandson the caricaturist, vol. II, London 1880, pp. 176 & 247-52; also J.R. Abbey, Life in England in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860, San Francisco 1991, nos. 265-7


Wellcome Collection 12086i

Creator/production credits

A print in the style of Rowlandson, accompanied by a poem in the style of William Combe, but probably not by either of them for reasons cited by Smith, op. cit.



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