[Alken, Henry]. Going to Epsom Races. A Ludicrious Amusement Consisting of Modern Costume, Characters, Dandies, Equipages and Horsemanship.

[London], S. & J. Fuller, 1819.

Etched miniature roll panorama in original hand colour, in 9 joined sections. Overall ca. 5.8 x 438.2 cm (lacking 19 cm at beginning). On a spool turning inside publisher's original wood drum, glazed hand-coloured racing print pasted to drum. Title label mounted to bottom of wooden drum. At the far right end of the panorama is a tab to facilitate extraction. Stored in later brown morocco case prepared by Lakeside Press.


First colour edition, exceedingly rare. One of the earliest English miniature roll panoramas preserved in its original wooden cylinder: a charming memento of sportsmanship in Georgian England. A fine example of this remarkable frieze of riders and carriages on the road from London to Epsom Race Course, with the race in progress. Neatly preserved on a roller inserted in an attractive wooden cylinder with a knob at the top, which, when turned, allows the scene to unfold gradually, spanning nearly four and a half metres in length. The lively riding scenes are executed in splendid etching and coloured by hand, the present issue being the first edition in colour. Greatly appealing for its simplicity, omitting the aquatint and some of the background figures and horse carriages introduced in the second edition, giving a less cluttered overall impression.

The panorama illustrates the hustle and bustle that a horse race involves, featuring packed equipages and galopping horses, sometimes tripping in full speed, sending hats and riders flying and entire carriages tipping over. Menessier de la Lance notes that "the accidents resemble instant photographs [...] The comical shifting of his [Alken's] characters, when they are surprised by a sudden swerve or halt of their mounts, could not be more faithfully and humorously rendered".

From the collection of the noted bibliophiles Maxine and Joel Spitz of Glencoe, Illinois, with their "Trail-Tree" stamp to the verso of the scroll and inner lid of the morocco case; their bookplate, featuring a watercolour portrait of Henry Alken, is mounted to the inner lid. Joel Spitz was a member of Chicago's prestigious Caxton Club.

Panorama slightly worn, a few faint edge tears. Glaze on cylinder slightly rubbed and chipped in places. An attractive specimen of equestrian craftmanship very rarely seen preserved in the original publisher's cylinder.


Abbey Life 472. Bobins IV, 1294. Mellon/Snelgrove 23. Siltzer 58. Gee Sporting Panoramas 1. Huthamo, Illusions in Motion 50 and 60. Cf. Mennessier de la Lance I, 15.

Stock Code: BN#63703 Tags: ,