To date, 71 patients having the so-called 'Rowell's syndrome' (RS) have been reported in the literature. However, most of them did not show all the clinical and serological features first described by Rowell and co-workers in 1963. Moreover, since then, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) has been identified and the diagnostic criteria as well as the clinical features of erythema multiforme (EM) defined. Accordingly several authors have questioned the existence of RS over the past years. In the present paper, the main clinical, histopathological and immunopathological features of both SCLE and EM are described and all of the cases of RS reported in the literature are also reviewed in depth. A real association between discoid LE and EM was present only in a minority of cases and could be considered a mere coincidence. As for other associations, e.g. those between CLE and lichen planus or psoriasis, the coexistence of CLE and EM does not justify the framing of a separate syndrome as suggested by Rowell et al.