Illustrations to Popular Songs: ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851) Illustrations to Popular Songs: ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851) Illustrations to Popular Songs: ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851)

Illustrations to Popular Songs

ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851)

Published by published by Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1825
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(9 7/8 x 14 1/8 inches). Letterpress title (verso blank), 1p. "address" with publisher's advertisement beneath (verso blank), otherwise engraved throughout: hand-coloured engraved frontispiece and 42 hand-coloured engraved plates, each within a pale wash border, all by Alken. Expertly bound to style in red/brown half morocco over contemporary marbled paper-covered boards, contemporary red morocco title label on upper cover lettered in gilt, the flat spine divided into six compartments by single gilt fillets, yellow glazed endpapers First edition, third issue: a fine copy of this evocation of Regency England. The first issue of this work was published in 1822, a second in 1823 and the present in 1825. Each print is made up of from two to six vignette scenes, each scene illustrating in a humourous fashion a single line from a popular song of the day. It is not surprising that a number of the images are of hunting, shooting and horses, but also included are scenes from domestic life of all classes, fashion, town and country life, military and naval life, etc. The publisher describes the genesis of this work in the introduction: "'Swans sing before they die --- 'twere no bad thing / 'Should some folks die before they sing.' "So whispered a friend to Mr. Alken, when they were once compelled to hear the discordant notes of a volunteer at a convivial party. 'I wish it were so,' said the Artist, 'but the words of the Song furnish a good subject for a Sketch,' and he soon presented his friend with the Illustration of 'Begone Dull Care,' this was much approved of, and became the first 'Symptom' of the 'Illustrations of Popular Songs,' a Work intended to furnish the Amateur of the Fine Arts, and of Singing, with characteristic representations of his favourite subjects, that he may have the pleasure of beholding the Poet's fancy, embodied by the glowing warmth of the Artist's fertile imagination." The artist Henry Thomas Alken was born into what became an artistic dynasty. He studied under the miniature painter J.T. Barber and exhibited his first picture (a miniature portrait) at the Royal Academy when he was sixteen. From about 1816 onwards he "produced an unending stream of paintings, drawings and engravings of every type of field and other sporting activity. He is best remembered for his hunting prints, many of which he engraved himself until the late 1830s . To many, sporting art is 'Alken', and to describe his work or ability is quite unnecessary" (Charles Lane British Racing Prints pp.75-76). Not in Abbey; cf. Schwerdt IV, p.4 (1822 edition with 40 plates); cf. Tooley 37 (1822 issue, noting four subsequent issues). Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Title: Illustrations to Popular Songs
Publisher: published by Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour
Publication Date: 1825
Binding: Oblong folio

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ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851).
Published by London: Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1823. (1823)
Used Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Arader Galleries - Aradernyc
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Book Description London: Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1823., 1823. ALKEN, Henry Thomas (1785-1851). Illustrations to Popular Songs. London: Thomas M'Lean, Repository of Wit and Humour, 1823. Oblong folio (10 x 14 2/8 inches). Engraved frontispiece and 42 engraved plates, all with original hand-colour in full (some offsetting, one or two corners folded). Contemporary half red morocco, marbled paper boards, red morocco lettering-piece on the front cover (a bit scuffed at the extremities). Secone edition, although plates dated 1822. Henry Alken was the dominant sporting artist of the early nineteenth century. He showed an early liking for depicting animals, especially dogs and horses, and his first sporting prints were published in 1813, "and he demonstrated his expertise in the book The Beauties and Defects in the Figure of the Horse Comparatively Delineated (1816). From then on he delivered a long series of designs to the leading sporting printsellers—S. and J. Fuller, Thomas McLean, and Rudolph Ackermann among others. He issued many sets of prints in wrappers and provided illustrations to a series of books, employing the pseudonym Ben Tally Ho for his mildly satirical sallies, and often collaborating with his friend the sporting journalist Charles James Apperley (1779–1843), known as Nimrod. Alken was very well informed about horses and riding, and he appeared to be an insider among the wealthy young set who gathered at Melton Mowbray to hunt and drink and (on at least one occasion literally) paint the town red. His familiarity with sporting lore gave rise to the story (put forward in the Dictionary of National Biography) that he might have been a hunt servant to the duke of Beaufort. Henry maintained a connection with Ipswich, evident in A Cockney's Shooting Season in Suffolk (1822) and The First Steeple-Chase on Record (1839), which recorded a nocturnal romp by cavalry officers stationed at Ipswich in 1803 and became the single most popular set of sporting prints. The Beaufort Hunt(1833) and The Quorn Hunt (1835) were his most distinguished hunting sets. He was also a prolific designer, etcher, and lithographer of scenes relating to racing, shooting, coaching, and other sports, and in 1820 he issued a series entitled National Sports of Great Britain. He wrote several books on aspects of engraving, including The Art and Practice of Engraving(1849)" (Timothy Clayton and Anita McConnell for DNB). Tooley 37 (note). Seller Inventory # 72lib1530

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