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Item #41222 A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c. Henry Thomas ALKEN.
A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.
A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.
A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.
A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.
A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.
A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.

A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views, Military Parade, Hunting, Coursing, Racing &c. &c.

London: Thomas McLane [McLean]. 26 Haymarket, c.1820. 4to. (10 1/2 x 7 inches). Ink manuscript title page with engraved border. 56 hand-colored aquatint color plates inlaid within elaborately engraved borders. Plates 1 and 3-41 with contemporary ink manuscript titling underneath, plates 2 and 42-56 are untitled, with space previously reserved for title included in the engraved surface which is larger than in Plates 1-41. Plates of various sizes. Unfoliated but ff. 116.

Contemporary dark brown straight-grained full morocco ruled gilt with gilt-patterned dentelles and four raised bands forming five compartments, skillfully rebacked preserving original spine, titled in second compartment with gilt foliate in rest, contemporary gray marbled endpapers with presentation label from the Grand Army of the Republic of Pennsylvania on front pastedown and presentation slip tipped-in on front flyleaf dated 1883, all edges gilt

Provenance: James L. Claghorn (1817-1884), art collector, patron, officer of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia School of Design for Women.

A first edition copy of "the rarest Alken item." [Abbey] With 56 handsome hand-colored martial etchings and a manuscript title, it is one of only two complete examples besides the Abbey copy at Yale.

This nineteenth-century color-plate book of military scenes is of utmost rarity. While most of the plates depict army scenes, there are many stand-out plates including those showcasing Ottoman troops, such as "Circassian Prisoners" (Plate 40) and "A Tartar Camp" (Plate 13). Plate 34 pictures "American Bushmen," and Plate 16 depicts the "Death of Ponitawski" [sic], referring to the death of the Polish General in Napoleon's Grande Armée Jozef Poniatowski at Leipzig in 1813, likely by friendly fire while fending off Russian and Austrian troops. The present copy is one of two complete examples of A Collection of Interesting Subjects of Marine Views known to exist besides the copy held by the Yale Center for British Art, which is the Abbey copy. Copies seen in the auction record have varying plate counts: 43, 48, 53, 54, and 55; the present copy and one seen in the auction record, and Yale's are the only to have the full suite of 56. The title page is in ink manuscript. According to a December 1907 sale catalog in Book Auction Records, there were so few copies issued that the publishers deemed it unnecessary to print a title. The title itself seems a point of confusion. While the full title starting "A Collection of Interesting Subjects" is seen here on the title page, the spine of the present copy is lettered like the Abbey copy with the alternate title "Military Occurrences &c," which a 1919 auction record comments "is a better title than the written one, all the plates being of a military character." Abbey notes the book was also issued with "Military Duties, Occurrences &c &c" on the title page as well. Abbey himself refers to the book as "Marine and Military Views" before giving the same title page as the present copy. The date of the publication is debated: 1820, 1827, 1830 have all been posited, but Abbey writes a "reasonable guess at the correct date is more likely not later than 1822 or 1823, and probably even before 1820" because the plates which refer to actual historical events reference Napoleon's incursion into Russia of 1812; the spelling of the publisher's name dates it prior to 1830; and by 1830 Alken was devoted solely to sporting subjects. However, the Index to British Military Costume Prints suggests a publication date ca. 1828. A more recent auction record gave c.1825-1830. The plates in the present copy differ from Abbey's in two respects: the second plate is uncaptioned, and "Fording a River" is here captioned "Fording River." Otherwise the same order, titling, and plate count as in Abbey is consistent here, with the uncaptioned second plate merely interjecting itself in otherwise the same run as Abbey's. The other complete copy seen in the record has a different order altogether. Alken was a prolific English painter and engraver from a family of sporting illustrators; his father was the artist Samuel Alken (1756-1815). Henry Thomas was known most widely as a caricaturist and for his sporting subjects and coaching scenes. Besides his father, Alken studied with the miniature painter John Thomas Barber Beaumont (1774-1841). In his twenties, Alken lived above the shop at 26 Haymarket owned by the publisher of this present title, Thomas McLean, who was also the editor of the influential and widely read "Repository of Wit and Humor," to which McLean paid Alken to contribute his illustrations. Through his watercolors, oil paintings, and etchings, Alken showed the importance of sports in the lives of the English aristocracy. The artist's attention to detail, and masterful portrayal of horses and dogs, add to the attraction of his work. 1. Salute. 2. [Blank.] 3. The Call. 4. The Muster. 5. The Generals Tent. 6. Relief. 7. The Barrack Yard. 8. Flying Artillery. 9. The Forlorn Hope. 10. An Ambuscade. 11. The Ferry. 12. The Gazette. 13. A Tartar Camp. 14. Guerilla Party. 15. Baggage. 16. Death of Ponitawski. 17. Halt. 18. Fording River. 19. The Action. 20. Punishment. 21. A Bivouac. 22. Storming the Entrenchments. 23. Dispute. 24. Vidette. 25. Skirmish. 26. The Spy. 27. The Out Post. 28. Truce. 29. Prisoners. 30. The March. 31. The Last Duty. 32. Refreshment. 33. Mamalukes. 34. American Bushmen. 35. The Stable. 36. Humanity. 37. Retreat. 38. Plunder. 39. Russian Couriers. 40. Circassian Prisoners. 41. Death of the Young Count Platoff. 42-56: [Blank.]

Abbey, Life 349. Index to British Military Costume Prints, 1500-1914, 41. OCLC 459603322. Yale British Art Center U41.A45. Not known to Siltzer, Slater, or Schwerdt.

Item #41222

Price: $12,500.00

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