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A bit about Henry Alken:

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)


Symptoms of Being Amused
by Henry Alken

Published by Thomas McLean, London

Original Hand-colored soft-ground etchings

Sheet Size: 9½ x 13½ inches
Note that the sheet is too large for the scanner, so the outer edges are not shown in the enlargements provided by clicking on the thumbnail images below, but they are present, as issued.

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

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

Click on the thumbnail images for a larger image. Please note: the entire sheet is too large to scan, so the outer edges are not shown in the enlargements, but are present as issued.

of doubtful Amusement or Craneing

of doubtful Amusement–or Craneing
of anxious Amusement–or sure of a bite
of Public Amusement–or no Taxes
of Dangerous Amusement—or a Stopper
of Private Amusement–or Cruelty


of being bang up

of being bang up, etc.

of promising a vote

of promising a Vote
of a bang up drive on a Sunday
of spoiling a Chicken
of breaking a Hunter
of reminding a Member
of a convenient Memory


of being up, with down prospects

of up, with a down prospect
of Down, with an up prospect
of learning to Trot
of a hard mouth


of being wanted

of being wanted
of Anxiety
of a has been
of Duck catching


of catch my horse

of catch my horse
of Bog trotting
of Expression
of Taking a steel draught
of the perpetual Motion (the bottomless pit)


of the Manager's Judgment

of the Manager's Judgment
if being on board a Packet
of having enough to live upon
of the Saddle mis-placed


of learning to do the thing genteel

of learning to do the thing genteel
of being foiled
of Coming out


of can't wait

of Can't wait
of come-to-ther glass
of blood & bone—going against time
of the Reduced list
of out of cash & a little in debt at an Inn
of in cash at an Inn


of doing the out side edge

of doing the out side Edge
of doing an inside Edge
of a Stop
of getting over a Fence


of doing the out side edge

of how you do you do
of I should not have known you
of my Lud
of easing a Patient
of a loose Rein
of Wohey
of Tight in hand


of being drawn, etc

of being drawn
of a fine Song
of trotting
of being in
of being out
of a Recoil


of to be sold

of to be sold
of Despair
of who is there
of sold and had him a week


of to be sold

of fine Feelings
of what a Jolly
of Terrour
of Fun
of a fight but not in England
of Village Scoundral


wild one tamed

of Wild One tamed
of a Wild One
of there's the rub
of an uncertainty


wild one tamed

of did not know the House had Stopped Payment
of basting a Joint
of following the Leader


notice to quit

of notice to quit
of a Descent
of Discretion
of Honour
of Taking a large dose of Glory



of a Spree
of a Smash
of going to quod
of being used to it
of not being used to it


home station

SYMPTOMS of a first Voyage
fit for the Home Station
fit for the Foreign Station
of taking in the trouble
of the Five Per Cents
of taking out the trouble


going to a Mill

of a few neat ones going to a Mill
of returning from the Spring Hunt


coming from hunt

of coming from the Hunt
of Star Gazing
Going to the Hunt
of an Elegant Writer
of Toasting an old Friend


great one

of a great one
of a fine one
of a queer one
of a save all
of a view on Brighton Cliffs
of just got over a gate


entering quod

of entering Quod
of a Hunting story
of a Gig and Mair
of Won't go
of been in Quod some time

being very windy

of being very windy
of being very dry
of being very dry
of being very thick
of being very queer
of being very cold
of being very hot
of being very wet


tragedy and comedy

of Tragedy
of Comedy
of the Ornamental
of what do you say
of Can't you hear
of the Old Story


by Thomas Alken
Vol. 1  title page

by Thomas Alken
Vol. 1

London, Published by Thos. McLean
Repository of Wit & Humour
26 Haymarket, 1822

[Title page]

Sheet size: 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches
(35 x 26 cm)

Condition notes: somewhat rumpled appearance, faint damp stain upper left margin, one-inch tear lower left margin, unobtrusive vertical crease just off-right-center, and another faint crease/dent upper left. Margins are lightly soiled. A few tiny fox marks. Please click on thumbnail image above for an enlargement for a better look at the condition.

Henry Alken etchings and engravings are also available from:
Illustrations to Popular Songs (1823)

Sporting Prints (circa 1830)


Humor and Satire prints