The First Steeple-Chase On Record – Henry Alken Snr

The First Steeple-Chase On Record by Henry Alken Senior

Extremely rare, in immaculate condition, first edition set or four hand coloured aquatints engraved by J Harris and published in London on March 1st 1839 by R Ackermann at his Eclipse Sporting Gallery, 191 Regent Street.  This set is one of only a handful of original sets which doesn’t depict the shadow of the horse in plate III.  This set of prints wasn’t a success for Ackermann because of the missing shadow, so the plates were then sold to Ben Brooks, who corrected this. The set then went on to be hugely popular and was published many times over.

Plate I is titled “Ipswich, the Watering-place behind the Barracks”, Plate II “The large field near Biles’s Corner”, Plate III “The last field near Nacton Heath” and Plate IV “Nacton Church and Village”. Unusual for depicting night scenes, these four plates were published in “A Monthly Chronicle of The Turf, The Chase, and Rural Sports in all their Varieties”, a nineteenth century monthly which reported on the present day equestrian sporting life.