In the late eighteenth century livestock breeding swept the country with the urgency of any newly created fashion. Royalty, nobility and commoners competed for livestock prizes at agricultural shows up and down the country. Animals of extraordinary dimensions were toured in horse-drawn caravans over nearly impassable roads to entertain the crowds who flocked to see them. Debates were waged in the national press over the relative merits of one breed versus another and never before or since has the country boasted so many different breeds of farm animals.
The livestock portraits of the day form the only record of many of these early breeds which are now endangered, extinct or changed beyond recognition. The paintings were commissioned by proud breeders to impress friends, clients and the world at large with their improved breeds and show ring triumphs. The illustrations have been gathered together from museums and private collections up and down the country, ranging from stately mansions to humble cottages. This book explains the unique conditions which gave rise to such an extraordinary school of painting and looks closely at the artists, many of them little known, who specialised in this genre. It also examines the development of our native breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and poultry.
This is the first comprehensive study of an exceptional period in livestock experimentation and of the social and economic aspirations which led to the commissioning of these paintings. Over four hundred illustrations (325 in full colour) provide a unique record of rare or extinct animals which once grazed these lands. This book will have a wide general appeal and will particularly attract enthusiasts of folk and primitive art as well as those whose interest is in rare and vanished breeds.
Hardback, First Edition published in 1996 by Antique Collectors Club. In good condition for age, slight bumping at top and bottom of spine, dustjacket is very slightly creased at top of spine in same area. Blue cloth boards with some small marks in places and a little fading at top edges. Binding sound and pages clean and unmarked save for the beginning of foxing on top edge and one or two small dots on side edge. Dustjacket is in very good condition, slightly creased at top edges, shows original price label inside of £35.00.