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Sporting artist, engraver and illustrator.

Born in London in 1784 into a family which became celebrated for its sporting artists and engravers. He is said to have worked as a trainer for the Duke of Beaufort, before studying under T. Barker Beaumont, the miniaturist, and he exhibited miniatures at the RA in 1801-02.

He moved to Melton Mowbray in 1810 to train horses. and eke out a livelihood in decorating trays with hunting scenes. His success really began when he issued prints under the name of "Ben Tally Ho" in 1813 and was at his most prolific in the 1820s and 1830s. His work was less interesting after that date and he died in poverty on April 8, 1851. His son H.G. Alken copied his father's work extensively.

Alken illustrations and separate prints are lively and very colourful and are closer to the 18th century caricature than to the 18th century sporting print. He enlarged Gillray's idea that the mishaps of hunting could be depicted in the same format as scenes of The chase and his publisher was significantly Thomas M'Lean of 'The Repository of Wit and Humour.'

Shaw Sparrow considers that he was most influential in creating a medium in which Phiz, Leech, and Caldecott could flourish. His Sketchbook, 1823 and Scrapbook, 1824 with pages crammed with nearly related but separated incidents, may have influended strip stories in the Victorian magazines. His drawings are most often seen in soft pencil with colour washes.

(from The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800-1914 by Simon Houfe)


Illustrations to Popular Songs
by Henry Alken

Published by Thomas McLean, Repository of Wit & Humour, London

Original Hand-colored soft-ground etchings nearly 190 years old

Sheet Size: 9½ x 13½ inches

Image Size: varies, but approx. 7¾ x 9½ inches in most cases

Condition: Mostly Excellent. Some prints may have signs of foxing or other
age-related defects. Please have a look at the enlarged photos for the
best indication of each print's condition.

Please click on the thumbnails for an enlarged view. Note; the entire sheet did not fit on the scanner, so the full margins are not shown but are present, as issued.

While happy in my Native Land

Adieu Adieu my Native Land

Begone dull care

A Hogshead was offered at Barchus's Shrine

Love has Eyes


He was known for deeds of arms

He was famed for deeds of arms

My Friend is the man I would copy through life

While I hang on your bosom

She a Maid of envied Charms

he to her his Love in part one pure flame pervaded with heart

He harbours no envy he causes no strife



What's this dull town to me, etc.

What's this dull town to me

I am a Country Actor And well I tread the Stage

Encompas'd in an Angels frame

On board our trim Vessel,
Her mouth with a smile

Mark a poor desolate maid

Strong Gin and other compounds

A Knight of a gay & gallant mien


With ___ mixture without measure

With ___ mixture without measure

May we Live a Life of Pleasure

Said a Smile

To a Tear

For with them ____ true Joys are found



Far removed from Noise & Smoke

Far removed from Noise & Smoke

Young love flew to Paphian bower

What airy sound floats sweetly round

Taste, oh taste this spicy wine

My life, my joy, my blessing


Ye Gentlemen of England, That live at home at ease

Ye Gentlemen of England,
That live at home at ease

Anna thy charms my bosom fire

Nor bent me with his Pron hand

Time has not thinned by flowing hair

Blow winds blow, your sounding horn

Sing old Rose & burn the bellows



Mary, dear Mary, list awake!

Mary, dear Mary, list awake!

A poor little Orphan neglected am I
Thy father! away, I renounce the soft claim,
Thou spot to my honour, thou blast to my fame

Now all thy virgin sweets are mine

My banks are furnished with bees,
Whose murmers......


A fig for the cares of the whirligig world

A fig for the cares of the whirligig world

Small still be my maxim where ever I'm twirld

At length puss is caught
And lies panting for breath

At the peaceful midnight hour



A Highland lad my love was born

A Highland lad my love was born

A Rose free in full bearing

Could a man be secure

Fly, soft ideas, fly

To wander alone when the moon faintly beaming


My love she is so pretty

My love she is so pretty

When a man's too much inclin'd to sleep

A parson who had a remarkable foible

Od's blood what a time for a sea man to sculk

Stay, sweet enchanter of the grove

Love's blind they say



Every pulse...

Every pulse every pulse along my veins
And every roving fancy

For health and I've spirits too

If I swear by that eye You'll allow
Its look is so shifting and new
That the oath I might trace on it now
The very next glance might undo

In storms when clouds obscure the sky


Every pulse...

'Tis he my William come from Sea

The Soldiers gratitude

There was an ancient fair
And she lov'd a neat young man

When first impell'd by honours call

Shepherds I have lost my love

Ope' thy casement Lady bright



O would...

O would swere my lot...O stay O stay

Fie Liza scorn the little art
Which meaner beauties use

Alas where is my lover gone

Fly to the Desert with me

Turn fair Clora Go false Damon

Give ear to me both high & low

Fly swiftly ye moments


I saw that form...

I saw that form in youthful trim

I'm not one of your fops

From night 'till morn I take my glass

Roys wife of Aldivalloch

I love thee night & day love

I've kiss'd & I've prattled with fifty fair maids



Turn away...

Turn away those eyes of love

Come cheer up my lads 'tis to glory we steer

Lest I die with pleasure

'Twas night & the midwatch was past


When in death...

When in death I shall calm recline

When absent from her

Oh Slumber my darling

The Soldier lived of wars alarms

Fair Ellen like a lilly grew

Sons of Freedom hear my story



I am the boy...

I am the boy for bewitching them

United in a noble cause

The night before the battle rag'd
Within the silent camp

Flow thou regal purple stream

Go George, I can't endure you


What beau was arm'd

What beau was arm'd completer

But are you sure the news is true

Come here fond youth who e'er you be
I'ze a Yorkshire Man Just come to Town

A Soldier I am for the Ladies

Come all you jolly sailors bold
Whose hearts are cast in honours mould
While Englands glory I unfold

Sally in our Alley



True sportsmen are we...

True sportsmen are we
for the game once in view
With unrestrain'd ardour the Chase we pursue

Dash fearless along in despight of controul
Break down every fence
game, game to the soul


The hounds are uncoupled

The hounds are uncoupled wee yonder they fly
They have a strong scent & are all in full cry

Awake ye dull sportsmen bid slumber adieu
The huntsman is ready the chace to pursue

Hark away my brave boys to the meadows repair



How sweet to be...

How sweet to be, as on we lush
By any thing entangling
Amidst a lovely thorny bush
Or on a tree left dangling

Then when our mettles at its pitch
While tally ho, were bawling
Safe landed in a muddy ditch
To be genteely sparwling

Whle many a broken sconce and face
Proclaim the pleasures of the chace

Let muddy ditches wash your face
Still great's the pleasure of the chace
Then dripping like a drowning rat


A southerly wind...

A Southerly wind and a stormy sky
Proclaim a hunting morning

A stormy sky o'ercharg'd with rain
Both hounds and huntsmen opposes

Then we rid & spur for a two hours chase
Our horses so panting and sobbing



No joys can delight...

No joys can delight like the sports of the field

To hunting all pleasure and pastime must yield

Hark away, hark away

To the sound of the horn


Bright chanticleer...

Bright chanticleer proclaims the dawn
And spangles deck the thorn

Sportsmen who are staunch & true

A fig for the man who embark'd in the chase...
To fear or impediment ever gives place

A true sportsman resolv'd,
dashes thro' thick & thin
He may be at fault but he never gives in

(see enlargement for flaw)

arise brother sportsmen...

Arise brother sportsmen the landscape survey
Now the dog and the gun can delight

Bright Phoebus in Cancer has mounted his Car...
And the swains of Diana rush eager to war


Henry Alken etchings and engravings are also available from:

Sporting Prints (circa 1830)

Symptoms of Being Amused (1822-27)

Humor and Satire home