Coursing

Henry Alken's Depiction of Coursing

ALKEN, Henry. [Coursing / Six Handcoloured Aquatints / by / Henry Alken] (letterpress title). London: Thos. Mc.Lean, 1824.

Small oblong folio (9 3/4 x 14 1/2 inches; 249 x 368 mm.).

A set of six hand-coloured etched plates, each one window-mounted on a stub with a modern letter-press title added.

Modern full red morocco by Aquarius, covers ruled in gilt and decoratively stamped in blind, spine with four raised bands, decoratively ruled and lettered in gilt. A few very minor marginal repaired tears and light stains, otherwise a fine and complete set of these rare plates plates which appeared in Henry Alken's celebrated book The National Sports of Great Britain.

The plates:

1. Coursing. Going Out
2. Coursing. Finding. Soho!
3. Coursing. Hilloo! Hilloo!
4. Coursing. Picking Up
5. Coursing. --- Dead, dead
6. Coursing. Going Home

Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs—chiefly greyhounds and other sighthounds—catching their prey by speed, running by sight, but not by scent. Coursing was a common hunting technique, practised by the nobility, the landed and wealthy, and commoners with sighthounds and lurchers. In its oldest recorded form in the Western world, as described by Arrian, the sport was practised by all levels of society, as remained the case until Carolingian forest law appropriated hunting grounds, or commons, for the king, the nobility, and other land owners.
Animals coursed include hares, rabbits, foxes, deer of all sorts, antelope, gazelle, jackals, wolves. Jackrabbits and coyotes are the most common animals coursed in America. Competitive coursing in Ireland, the UK and Spain has two dogs running together. In America, generally speaking three dogs are run together.

Lane, British Racing Prints, pp.75-76; Tooley, 43 (National Sports of Great Britain). Item #03305

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