Coloured aquatint1 January 1820
- About the work
About the artist
John Clark, watercolourist and aquatint engraver, specialised in topographical, sporting and marine views. He remains something of a mystery today as virtually nothing is known of his life. This may be partly the result of his not uncommon name. Clark toured Scotland during the summer of 1823, making sketches for his series of aquatint prints ‘Views in Scotland’ (published in parts in 1824-25, under the patronage of George IV). Other works apparently in the same hand and presumed to be by John Clark are alternately signed ‘J. Clark’ and ‘I. Clark’. To further complicate matters, Clark’s work has frequently been confused with that of John Heaviside Clark (c.1771-1863), an engraver and painter of landscapes and seascapes, born in Scotland.
Henry Thomas Alken was born in Soho, London; the son of artist and printmaker Samuel Alken. His brothers Sefferein and Samuel became sporting artists, while George was a designer and lithographer. Alken studied under his father, followed by miniaturist John Thomas Barber Beaumont. In 1809 he married Maria Gordon of Ipswich, Suffolk, and remained in Ipswich for a time. His five children were all born there. In 1813 his first sporting prints were published. He went on to produce numerous designs for sporting printsellers, using the pseudonym Ben Tally Ho for satirical subjects. He was also a prolific printmaker himself and wrote books on engraving. At his death, he was living in relative poverty with his unmarried daughter in Highgate.