Henry Thomas Alken (1785 - 1851)
Oil on Canvas
Size (inches): 16 (h) x 26 (w) inches
Size (cm): 40.6 (h) x 66 (w) cm
The most distinguished member of an artistic dynasty, Henry Alken was the dominant sporting artist of the early nineteenth century. Henry Alken was born in Golden Square, Soho, London on 12 October1785, the third son of Samuel Alken, an architect and engraver of Danish origin. Growing up in Bedford Square, he studied under his father, and was apprenticed to the miniaturist John Thomas Barber. During this apprenticeship, he exhibited two portrait miniatures at the Royal Academy of Arts (1801-2), but seems not to have capitalised on his initial exposure. Indeed, little certain is known about the artist during the 1800s. Alken married in Ipswich, Suffolk in 1809, and may have lived there for some years. However, he seems to have mixed with the notorious Meltonian hunting set, of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire – and it has been suggested that he lived there, and worked as a horse breeder.