Scraps from the Sketch Book of Henry Alken, engraved by himself; Containing Forty-Two Plates.

In The Original Seven Parts
With Forty-Two Hand-Colored Plates

ALKEN, Henry. Scraps From the Sketch Book of Henry Alken, Engraved by Himself, Containing Forty-Two Coloured Plates. London: Thomas M'Lean, 1823.

First edition in the seven original parts.

Oblong folio (10 1/8 x 14 1/4 inches; 257 x 363 mm.). Title leaf (verso blank), and forty-two hand-colored engraved plates heightened with gum arabic, twelve with multiple images. Plates watermarked "J. Whatman 1821 & 1822".

Original printed wrappers, front covers printed with title, imprint, date and price of ‘twelve shillings each part’, lower covers with various advertisements. Part numbers added to covers in a contemporary hand. Lower cover of part three expertly and almost invisibly strengthened at spine, otherwise a totally original and untouched set.

Chemised in a full maroon morocco slipcase, covers decoratively ruled in gilt, spine with five raised bands decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, decorative gilt board-edges. With the engraved bookplate of Maxine and Joel Spitz on inside of front wrapper of part one.

A bright, clean, and spectacular copy of an extremely scarce album in the original parts by Henry Alken. We have never seen nor heard of another copy in the original parts.

Provenance: Purchased from the De Peyster Sale, American Art, New York, 15 March 1932.

According to Schwerdt there was an uncolored edition of 1821. While Siltzer notes an Alken Sketch Book of 1820 (34 plates), and the Scraps... edition of 1822 (assumedly mistaken for 1823). It is not in found in Tooley or Abbey in any edition.

The "Scraps" include equestrian, hunting, dog, bowling scenes, etc. In short, each print features a sporting tableau. Parts six and seven depict Turkish and English cavalry. The earlier parts show shooting, a wayside inn, dogs fighting,
a seriously angry bull, coaching, hunting, and horse-racing scenes.

Of Alken, Siltzer wrote, "It took but a short time for the leading art publishers of London to recognize his genius and to discover that they had 'struck a reef' of both artistic and financial value, and the well-known firms of Thomas M'Lean, S. and J. Fuller, and Rudolph Ackermann were not slow to reaping full benefit... It appears that Alken himself occasionally engraved plates, and thus added to the facility of production..."

Schwerdt I, p. 21. Cf. Siltzer, p. 71. Item #03315

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