London: S. & J. Fuller, 1825. Item #05112
"The Progression of the Foal to the Yearling, the Race-Horse, the Hunter,
Thereafter Working Menially and Declining to a Pathetic End"
As Depicted by Henry Alken in Seven Superb Hand Colored Etched Plates
ALKEN, Henry. The Seven Ages of the Horse. London: S. & J. Fuller, 1825.
First edition. Oblong folio (13 7/8 x 16 1/8 inches; 352 x 410 mm.). Printed title=page and seven superb hand-colored etched plates all window mounted on stubs (Image size 9 x 10 3/4 inches; 229 x 273 mm. Interleaved with paper guards.
Mid twentieth-century, three quarter dark green morocco over green cloth boards decoratively ruled in gilt. Front cover with rectangular green morocco label decoratively bordered and lettered in gilt. Spine with five raised bands decoratively ruled and lettered in gilt in compartments. A wonderful example.
"In this re-working of The High Mettled Racer, Alken extends the stages of a horse's life from six to seven, making an explicit connection with Shakespeare's 'Seven Ages of Man'. The horse 'in his time plays many parts' from that of a fiery and competitive racer to a poor but blameless hack. 'Contemplation of the horse's life was ... inseparable from the retrospect of one's own happy youth, the gratification and moments of triumph experienced in the prime of life, often bitterly contrasted with the disappointments and ills of later years" (Diana Donald, Picturing Animals in Britain, 2007, p. 219).
"The stages in the life of a race-horse was a popular theme which attracted several artists. Titles of these sets varied from The Life and Death of a Race-Horse (T. Gooch, the originator), The High Mettled Racer (H. Alken 60 and 63) (T. Rowlandson 8) to The Seven Ages of the Horse (H. Alken 62), all showing the progression of the foal to the yearling, the Race-horse, the hunter, thereafter working menially and declining to a pathetic end." (Mellon/Snelgrove p. x).
1. The Foal.
2. The Colt.
3. The Race Horse.
4. The Hunter.
5. The Harness Horse.
6. The Post Horse.
7. The Death.
Bobins II, 759; Dixon, 80; Not in Schwerdt; Not in Siltzer; Mellon/Snelgrove 62; Tooley, 48.