ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851)
London: Published by T. McLean, 1820. Coloured aquatint. Dated 1820 but published in 1823. Image size: 8 x 12 inches. In hand-painted French mat. Left margin folded under mat. Sheet size: 12 x 19 inches. Plate mark: 10 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches.
A pretty aquatint depicting a group of hunters hawking, from Henry Alken's celebrated "The National Sports of Great Britain."
This charming print by Henry Alken comes from a work entitled "The National Sports of Great Britain," comprised of coloured aquatints of sporting scenes. Published in 1824 by Thomas McLean, the images vary in subject from Bull baiting to Otter hunting. This charming print is the first plate in a series of shooting prints.
Henry Thomas Alken was born into what became an artistic dynasty. He studied under the miniature painter J.T. Barber and exhibited his first picture (a miniature portrait) at the Royal Academy when he was sixteen. From about 1816 onwards he "produced an unending stream of paintings, drawings and engravings of every type of field and other sporting activity. He is best remembered for his hunting prints, many of which he engraved himself until the late 1830s.... To many, sporting art is 'Alken', and to describe his work or ability is quite unnecessary."
Charles Lane, British Racing Prints, 75-76; Tooley, English Books with Coloured Plates no. 43; Siltzer, The Story of British Sporting Prints p. 70.