Henry Alkens' Fox Hunting
Seven Magnificent Hand Colored Aquatint Plates
ALKEN, Henry. A Set of Seven Plates on Fox Hunting by Henry Alken. London: S & J Fuller, 34 Rathbone Place, 1818.
First edition. Oblong folio (17 1/16 x 22 1/16 inches: 433 x 560 mm.). Specially printed title-page which also include a listing of the plates. Seven hand colored aquatint plates in thick card mounts, each image size approximately 9 3/8 x 12 1/2 inches and each plate size approximately 13 1/8 x 16 1/2 inches. All plates window framed in 1/8 inch thick card, mounted on stubs. Plate 5 "The Death" had a couple of very small lower marginal tears (not affecting plate mark) which have been expertly repaired. Plate 6 "The Refreshment" has a few expertly repaired tears on the lower margin just touching the plate image. Otherwise a very fine set of these plates.
Bound by Aquarius of London ca. 1990 in three quarter green morocco over green cloth boards, decoratively ruled in gilt. Front cover with green morocco label measuring 6 3/8 x 9 5/16 inches: 162 x 237 mm.), decoratively lettered and bordered in gilt. Spine with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt. Fine.
1. Drawing a Cover. "Hark to old Danger" H. Alken, del. (Jany. 1, 1818)
2. Gone Away. "The pleasure of a view Holla" [no artist or engraver] (Jany. 1, 1818)
3. Full Cry "Taking the thing easy" H. Alken, del. Sutherland, sculp. (Jany. 1, 1818)
4. The Leap "Taking the lead in defiance of speed" H. Alken, del. Sutherland, sculp. (Jany. 1, 1818)
5. The Death "The reward of a bold push" H. Alken, delt. Sutherland, sculpt. (Jany. 1, 1818)
6. The Refreshment [no additional title] H. Alken, del. Sutherland, sculp. (Jany. 1, 1818)
7. The Toast "Fox Hunting" H. Alken, delt. Cooper & Sutherland, sculp. (March 16th, 1818)
Siltzer (page 58) calls for nine plates, however the two additional plates that he calls for are titled "Hark to Old Danger" and "Pleasure of a View Halloo". In our copy "Hark to Old Danger" appears as the additional title on the first plate "Drawing a Cover" and "The pleasure of a view Holla" appears as the additional title on the second plate "Gone Away".
"Siltzer, p.58 evidently did not see this early set. He gives a description of a set by Cooper and Sutherland of nine plates but apparently he mixed up the titles with the inscriptions, unless they were re-issued in that manner." (Schwerdt).
"The aquatint process was developed to give the appearance of a water-colour and was used increasingly for over fifty years for large plates of grand views or small book-illustrations and for practically any subject, but it came to be used almost exclusively as the ideal medium for the best result in sporting prints. The sharp outlines and clear colouring gave them a briskness which sport required; horses seem to gallop and jump with greater verve in aquatint, while farm-horses munch more contentedly in mezzotint. Many engravers devoted themselves to the medium and, together with draughtsmen and colourists, enjoyed a steady livelihood with employment from such flourishing publishers as Rudolph Ackermann, Thomas McLean and Mesrrs. Fores. The method of soft-ground etching successfully simulated pencil-drawing and was used extensively for instructional drawing-books, but it was Henry Alken who used it constantly over many years in his albums with their countless cameos of sporting and comic incidents. Lithographs in hand-coloured form, although cheaper to produce, did not replace aquatints in popular esteem. Later in the century, the invention of chromolithography brought a high standard to colour printing, but initially it was to costly a process for the publisher of sporting prints." (Snelgrove, p. viii).
Schwerdt, Vol 3, p. 167
Snelgrove, British Sporting and Animal Prints 1658-1874 The Paul Mellon Collection, 7. Item #03002
Out of stock