Samuel Alken, Sr.

(22 October 1756 - 9 November 1815)

The Alken family of painters were scrupulously assembled by the legendary early 19th-century collector and dealer Frank T. Sabin, and reflect the superb tastes and unrivaled eye of this most sophisticated connoisseur.

Samuel Alken and his son Henry were the most prominent members of a successful family of artists, and two of the best-known sporting artists of late 18th and early 19th-century Britain. Samuel's parents had emigrated to England from Denmark, and he built his own artistic career to a great level of fame through his mastery of the quintessential British subject matter: the hunt.

He entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, as a sculptor in 1772. In 1779 he published A New Book of Ornaments Designed and Etched by Samuel Alken, afterwards establishing himself as one of the most competent engravers in the new technique of aquatint, and he won wide acclaim for his many sporting prints. Working in this genre, Alken became one of the most prolific and acclaimed British sporting artists of his day, and passed his skills on to his son. Samuel was responsible for the early art instruction that set his son, Henry Alken, 1785-1851), on a path towards even greater recognition than his own.


ALKEN, Samuel, aqua-tint engraver. Practised his art in London towards the end of the 18th century. He had probably some instruction in architecture, and in 1780 exhibited an architectural design. He produced many views in Great Britain and Ireland, chiefly for the illustration of topographical works, and carried the art of aqua-tint to very high perfection. He designed and etched A New Book of Ornaments. He published, in 1796, Views in Cumberland and Westmoreland, and Aqua-tint views in North Wales in 1798.

Dictionary of Artists of the English School

ALKEN, SAMUEL was a draughtsman and engraver, and his aquatint engravings are of high merit. Alken produced plates after Morland, Richard Wilson, Rowlandson, Wheatley, and others. As an original artist he is known by the ‘New Book of Ornaments,’ which he designed and etched himself, by his ‘Views in Cumberland and Westmoreland,’ published in 1796, and by ‘Aquatint Views in North Wales,’ published in 1798.

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 01, by Ernest Radford; Redgrave's Dict. of Painters, 1872.

Alternate names for Samuel Alken (the elder):
Alken, Samuel, 1756-1815
Alken, Samuel, Sr. English engraver, 1756-1815
Alken, S. (Samuel), 1756-1815
Alken, Samuel I
Alken, Samuel, I
Alken, Samuel, Senior
Alken, Samuel, fl. 1780-1798
Alkin, Samuel
Alkin, Samuel, 1756-1815
Samuel Alken, Sr.
Samuel I Alken

View painter's art: Samuel Alken, Sr. (1756-1815) [new window view]

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