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Sporting Art, Horses, Caricature, Sporting Notions, Henry Alken, Antique Prints, 1832


Henry Alken (1785-1851) (after)
Sporting Notions
Thomas McLean, London: 1832
Aquatint engravings printed in color, finished by hand
9.75 x 13.25 inches, sheet
7.5 x 10.25 inches, image
$300 each

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Full titles:
1. I have a Notion that my horse looks like 40 guineas in the Pound
2. I have a notion this may be called “Riding to the Hounds at a Smashing Rate.”
3. I have a notion that I don’t look unlike Mazeppa.
4. Hallo you ditchers why the devil did you not sing out? You have no Notion what injury you may do my horse.
5. I have a Notion than any thing is acceptable in a hot day after a hard chace, particularly when there’s nothing else to be got. What’s the odds as long as you’re happy.
6. I have a Notion this Bridge will Abridge my Sport.
7. This gives me a Notion it’s better to “Look before you Leap.”
8. I begin to have a Notion that my Horse is dead. But I can form no Notion how I am to Get out.


Alken, a leading British sporting artist, explores the comic side of riding in this series of prints depicting the follies and foibles of aristocrats on their weekend outings. They are part of a larger movement of caricature prints lampooning British society that were published in England in the first half of the 19th Century, by artists such as Thomas Rowlandson.

Henry Thomas Alken was a painter and engraver, son of artist Samuel Alken. He worked in London and the provinces and was prolific in a variety of media, including painting, etching and watercolor. Trained as a miniature painter, his works always had a graphic precision. He is known for hunting, coaching, racing and other animal subjects. He was also employed by sporting periodicals as an illustrator and provided plates for the National Sports of Great Britain (London, 1821), “strengthening the market for his work in sporting circles, in particular the notorious clique of wealthy and reckless huntsmen who gathered at Melton Mowbray, Leicester” (Grove Dictionary of Art).

Condition: Generally very good, original color bright and fresh, clouds well delineated in early strikes. Minor toning, soiling, soft creases.


“Henry Thomas Alken.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. (10 May 2002).