ALKEN, Henry (1785-1851), after; and Robert HAVELL (1793-1878), engraver
[Coaches in Snowstorms]
London: R. Havell, 1836-1837. Oblong folio. (13 1/2 x 20 inches). Complete suite of 6 hand coloured aquatint plates, on wove paper with "J. Whatman/1836" watermark.
Expertly bound to style in full dark blue straight grain morocco, covers bordered in gilt, spine gilt with raised bands, blue endpapers.
Very rare complete suite of coaching scenes.
The winter of 1836-1837 was exceptionally severe across the whole of Great Britain, with heavy snow, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures being recorded in locations all around the country, from the end of October 1836 through to April 1837. These very rare coaching scenes, showing horse teams labouring, vehicles overturned and alarmed passengers peering out at the snow in the extreme weather. Snelgrove and Seltzer both list five separately-issued prints from 1837 (with the above series title being supplied); but both listing a different set of five, and with a total of six being issued in all. The titles are as follows: 1) The Brighton Mail on Sunday Decr. 25th, 1836. 2) The Birmingham Mail Near Aylesbury, the Guard Banbury Proceeding with the Bags. 3) The Devonport Mail Near Amesbury, Going Post Through an Avalanche of Snow. 4) The Bruce Passing the Peveril Coach and Manchester Mail. 5) The Liverpool Mail Near St. Albans. 6) The Holyhead and Chester Mails, at Hockley Hill Near Dunstable. Besides being unusual in terms of subject matter, the prints are very fine examples of the process, beautifully coloured and engraved by Havell.
Mellon/Snelgrove 82-86 (listing 5 plates only, without The Brighton Mail); Seltzer p. 63 (listing 5 plates only); Slater, Illustrated Sporting Books page 159.