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Henry Alken Senior (1785-1851) - Arab Horsemen Fighting in Desert
  • Henry Alken Senior (1785-1851) - Arab Horsemen Fighting in Desert

    Principally known as a watercolourist and oil painter in sporting and coach scenes, Henry Alken Senior (1785-1851) was also skilled as an etcher and an engraver. Many members of his family were also artists and after himself, his son Henry Alken Junior was the next best painter. This work of a knight fighting against an Arab horseman was likely executed around the early 1820s.  Alken was involved in a publication called 'Scraps From the Sketch-Book of Henry Alken' produced by Thomas M'Lean (1823). Various works in this folio included pictures of Arab horsemen who are remarkably similar to the ones in this composition. Futhermore, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Yale Center for British Art have pictures by Alken of similar horsemen and also knights from the same period. This makes it possible that the drawing is based on the Crusades. However, the knight on the left is seated in reverse to fight the oncoming Arab rider. This skill would have been very difficult suggesting that it is based on another Arabian nation. A work by Alken Senior sold at Bonhams at their 'Fine Pictures, Furniture and Works of Art' on 29/11/05 as lot 81 shows a knight similar to this picture who is Arabian.


    Medium: watercolour and pencil on paper.


    Signed 'Alken', 6.9 x 9.6 cm, framed.


    Provenance: Collection of Dr Edward Brett.


    Condition report: good overall, small paint mark just above the white horse's face and also a small foxing mark to the right hand side.

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