“The Yorkshire Rose. This Wonderful Animal was Bred by the Late John Ainsley, Esq.re of Otterington House, near Northallerton, Yorkshire, and Fed by Medd Scarth, Esq. Carlton, Near Stokesley[…] Painted by G. Horner, Manchester. Engraved by C. Turner, A.R.A. Printed March 17, 1838 by Mr. Henry Nicholson, Bedale, Yorkshire.
Although animal painting was considered a lower branch of the arts, somewhere between still life and history painting, animal portraiture was HUGELY popular in 18th century Britain. The renowned sporting artist Benjamin Marshall (English 1768 – 1835) remarked “Many a man will pay me 50 guineas for a portrait of his horse who thinks ten guineas too much for a painting of his wife."
Enthusiasm for these paintings of prize winning animals came from the “top” with Queen Victoria's and Prince Albert’s interest and preoccupation with their farms. (They even went so far as to name animals after family members). Agriculture in the early 19th century was the premier industry and biggest employer – everyone from laborers to farmers to landowners depended on the prosperity of the farm for their livelihood. Breeders competed for the fattest beasts marketing them and their farms ability to produce them. Publicity portraits of prize winning animals were commissioned by their owners for their own pride and pleasure or out of rivalry with neighboring farmers. Patrons wanted no artistic license when painting their animals who were shown in static profile so that carcass size, distribution of fat and proportions could be properly appreciated. Paintings were displayed in breeder’s farm houses as important promotional material to impress visiting farmers and agriculturalists.
“The Yorkshire Rose” was a celebrated cow, the detailed letterpress description states her “astonishing dimensions” her health and the “surprising” fact that her “only food from 6 months Old to the Age of 3 Years and 5 months was Grass and Hay, notwithstanding Her amazing weight She is very active.” This portrait was engraved and tinted by the great mezzotint artist Charles Turner from a painting by George Christopher Horner a sporting artist active in Liverpool and Manchester.
One of the truly great cattle prints.
Hand colored etching and aquatint on watermarked paper (1839) full original hand color.
20 ½ x 25 inches site, 31 x 38 inches framed.
Professionally de-acidified. Excellent condition.