London: Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1823. Item #05110
Newcomers to the Meltonian Hunt who Dress like Dandies and have no Thought for their Horses
"A Very Rare Series, Amongst the Largest and Finest of Alken's Plates." (Tooley)
ALKEN, Henry. Comparative Meltonians, As they are, and as they were… By Ben Tally-Ho. London: Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1823.
First edition. Oblong folio (12 3/4 x 19 1/4 inches; 323 x 489 mm.). Printed title-page and six magnificent hand colored plates aquatinted by G. Hunt. Each plate numbered in top right corner and with imprint "London, Published by Thos. McLean. Repository of Wit & Humour: 26 Haymarket, 1823." in lower margin. Plate numbers 4 and 6 with expertly repaired short (one quarter inch) marginal tears.
Publisher's printed pink wrappers [advertisements on rear wrapper as per Schwerdt]. "Price Two Guineas" neatly erased from after the date. Wrappers expertly strengthened at extremities. Housed in a fleece-lined, quarter black morocco over red buckram clamshell case, lettered in gilt on front cover, smooth spine lettered in gilt.
Engraved bookplate of Joel Spitz on inside of front wrapper and small oval leather bookplate of Joseph Widener on inside of clamshell case. Probably the finest copy extant.
"Original Issues. Excessively Rare. A complete set of these magnificent colored aquatints, which are among the largest and most brilliant of all Alken plates. Owing to their beauty many copies were broken up and the plates framed, with the result that few copies are found with the complete series." (Dixon Sale, January 1937).
"A very rare series, amongst the largest and finest of Alken's plates." (Tooley).
The "Widener copy of 'one of Alken's most brilliantly colored hunting sets and one which is very rarely found in it's original printed wrapper'" (Schwerdt). The very large and 'magnificently colored plates' contrast riders as they were, in steadfastly correct dress and with genuine consideration for the good of their horses, with the excessive zeal of riders as they are, in other words newcomers to the Meltonian hunt who dress like dandies and have no thought for their horses. The motto on the front wrapper and the title-page reads: 'All alike good,---but time makes strange alterations," while the plate captions emphasize the difference in approach between the two social groups.
Provenance: Joseph Widener purchased in his sale, 28 November 1944 by Joel Spitz; Joel Spitz sale: Christie's London, May 27th, 2015, lot 110 (£4.375/$6,700).
1. "A Meltonian, as he was. Going to Cover…… Steady, Steady, my pretty fellow, plenty of time."
2. "A Meltonian, as he is. Going to Cover……Along, Along, rot your crawling, am I to be all day getting there?"
3. "Gone away, a Meltonian as he us'd to be. Forward, Forward,……Thank you my good Friend."
4. "Gone away, a Meltonian, as he is. Cu's me fell'er but you will git hurt one day if you git so much in the way."
5. "Going home, Meltonians as they were. The Grey has carried you in excellent style to day."
6. "Going home, Meltonians as they are. By the living George…B…it is all up."
Bobins IV, 1375; Dixon, 53; Mellon/Snelgrove 18; Schwerdt I, p. 13; Siltzer, p. 60; Tooley 23.