London: Thomas M'Lean, . Item #05114
The Life of a Race-Horse Depicted in Six Superb Aquatint Plates by Henry Alken
ALKEN, Henry. The High Mettled Racer. A Series of Six Prints from the Original Drawings by Henry Alken. London: [S. & J. Fuller, 1821].
First edition. Oblong folio (15 3/4 x 21 3/4 inches; 401 x 552 mm.). Printed title (from later McLean 1828 or 1830 edition) laid down, and specially printed title-page mounted on stub. Six magnificent hand colored aquatint plates engraved by T. Sutherland (image size : 11 x 15 inches; 280 x 380 mm.). All plates mounted on stubs and with imprint "London Published March 1st 1821 by S. & J. Fuller at their Sporting Gallery, 34, Rathbone Place."
Bound ca. 1960 in three quarter dark blue morocco over marbled boards decoratively ruled in ruled in gilt. Front cover with large rectangular dark blue morocco label decoratively bordered and lettered in gilt. Spine with five raised bands, decoratively ruled in gilt, white endpapers, edges speckled brown. A superb example.
From the estate of Arnold “Jake” Johnson (1930-2017) of Bozeman, Montana. A true bibliophile, Johnson was an inveterate collector of rare items related to travel, expeditions in India and Africa, English sporting and color-plate, 19th century big game hunting, and Western Americana. To be offered in a series of sales, the Collection comprises hundreds of rare books, hand-written accounts of hunting expeditions, striking examples of 19th century photographic travel albums, and elusive bibliographies and facsimiles of major works.
"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).
There were two later editions published in 1828 and 1830 which have smaller versions of the plates etched as opposed to aquatinted. These have the imprint of Thos. McLean.
1. The Foal.
2. In Training.
3. The Racer.
4. The Hunter.
5. The Post Horse.
6. The Death.
Bobins II, 751; Mellon/Snelgrove, 60; Siltzer, p. 59; Not in Abbey, Dixon, Schwerdt or Tooley.