Sporting Sketches

One of a Very Few Copies With Forty-Eight Hand Colored Etched Plates

ALKEN, Henry. Sporting Sketches. Consisting of Subjects relating to the Sports of the Field as Horses, Dogs, Live and Dead Game, Wild Fowl, Fox Hunting, Shooting, Coursing, &c. &c. &c. The whole illustrative of Landscape Scenery. London: S. and J. Fuller, 1817[-1818].

Oblong folio (10 3/4 x 16 7/8 inches; 272 x 427 mm.). Hand-colored etched title and forty-eight hand-colored etched plates. A few leaves slightly dust soiled in blank margins, some mainly marginal spotting affecting some of the plates, but overall an excellent example of this exceptionally rare work. Plates watermarked 1817-1820.

Mid twentieth century half red morocco over brown paper boards decoratively ruled in gilt, front cover with original printed wrapper laid down. Smooth spine ruled and lettered in gilt, green morocco label lettered in gilt, matching brown endpapers. Housed in a matching fleece-lined, quarter red morocco clamshell case.

Provenance: Purchased from Walter Hill of Chicago, February 1930.

An early work, exceptionally rare with this number of plates. The wrapper announces "This Work will be completed in Six Monthly Numbers, each Number containing Six Plates." The Mellon copy (Snelgrove 92) was in the six original parts and contained the requisite thirty-six hand colored plates. Schwerdt, page 26, states "This work is complete in six monthly numbers, Demy Fol., each number containing six pls., 7. 6d. each, or complete in boards, £2. 5s."
The only reference to 48 plates is in Siltzer (p.69), who states "Sporting Sketches. 48 plates. Folio size. Published by S. and J. Fuller." Siltzer may well have been referring to the Gloucester copy or indeed our copy.

In summary, the present example is one of presumably very few copies, including the Gloucester copy, containing an extra twelve plates. A pencil note by Joel Spitz at the end of the volume states that he thought there might be "at the most two".

The superb hand-colored plates are full of activity, some containing one, others two scenes, and some up to a dozen sporting vignettes. Hunting, shooting and fishing feature most strongly among the sports, but there are also independent studies of horses and dogs.

All of the bibliographies call for thirty-six plates except for Siltzer.

Mellon/Snelgrove 92; Schwerdt I p. 26; Siltzer p. 69; Not in Tooley. Item #03360

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