Paintings of ‘famous’ animals up for auction

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A 19TH CENTURY painting of ‘The Craven Heifer’ (estimate £3,000-£5,000) and E.S. England’s depiction of ‘A Large White Sow’ (estimate £8,000-£12,000) are two of the highlights in the upcoming Gentleman’s Library Sale at Knightsbridge, Bonhams on 29th January.

The painting of ‘The Craven Heifer’ is especially revered due to the notoriety of the animal during her lifetime. The heifer was famous for her incredible size, weighing an astonishing 312 stone and was bred by the Reverend William Carr of Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire.

In the 19th Century large agricultural developments had been made in breeding techniques to provide meat for an expanding population and many early animal paintings were commissioned to advertise this progression. The craven heifer was also brought to London for an exhibition at Cock Inn, Haymarket, for which entry was charged to marvel at the animal.

Animals could be fattened for up to seven years to obtain the desired dimensions for an award. Competitions were fierce and like the craven heifer, some of the animals became celebrities in their own right. Indeed, inscribed in the lower right corner of the image of the sow is ‘Cup Winner/Leeds Fat Stock Show 1906’, publicising this prized pig’s win.

Other notable lots in the sale include a pair of 18-inch Thomas Malby library globes (estimate £60,000-£80,000) and a silver model of a church (£8,000-£12,000).


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