Henry Alken Jr. (1785-1851) was part of a family of artists who found great success in
the United Kingdom for nearly two centuries.
The Alkens moved from the Netherlands to England in the early 1800s. They became
famous for their carving and gilding abilities, and by the end of the century had noble
patrons including the Duke of Bedford at Woburn. At the beginning of the 19th century,
brothers Samuel Alken Sr. and Henry Alken Sr. were trained in painting and established
a reputation for their sporting scenes.
The brothers masterfully depicted hunting, shooting, fishing and coaching exploits, and
also recorded more peculiar hobbies like rat-catching and badger-baiting. Henry Alken
Jr., also known as Samuel Henry Alken, carried on this legacy. Just like his father Henry
Alken Sr. he often chose coaches as his subject matter, as in this dynamic painting
from our collection.
A series of engravings were made of the Alken family's most well-known pictures, and
they are still widely reproduced today.