Pair of prints depicting a steeplechase in the natural rough terrain of the English country side. The riders guide their horses over hills, hedges, gullies, and gate fences, one rider having suffered a fall.
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, a large number of which were rendered as prints. Some of his works were straightforward renditions of sporting events, while others were caricatures affectionately lampooning the British upper classes. 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). His works are in the collections of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the British National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Gallery.
Charles Bentley was a London watercolor artist and aquatint engraver who specialized in topographical, sporting and coaching subjects. He learned engraving as an apprentice to Theodore Henry Adolphus Fielding, where he engraved prints after the watercolors of Richard Parkes Bonington, whose work became a major influence on his own. He traveled throughout the British Isles, the Normandy Coast, France, Holland and Venice, making sketches for landscape watercolors emphasizing the effects of light and atmosphere. He exhibited regularly at the Old Water-Colour Society between 1834 and 1854, where he was elected a member in 1844. He frequently produced engravings of original works by Henry Alken.
Full publication information: Fores, 41 Piccadilly, London.
Condition: Fine colorful impressions, generally very good with the usual light overall toning and edge wear. Faint horizontal toning line, probably from former backboard.
Bentley, Charles. The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/00/0079/T007985.asp (15 November 2004).
“Henry Thomas Alken.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/00/0018/T001856.asp (10 May 2002).
Redgrave, Samuel. A Dictionary of Artists of the English School: Painters, Sculptors, Architects, Engravers and Ornamentists. London: Longmans, Green, and Col., 1874. p. 36.