John West Giles after H. Strafford
Four Prize Wethers
28 x 23 inches
A charming lithograph in original hand colour drawn on stone by J. W. Giles after the painting by H, Strafford and published in London by Messers Fores circa 1840.
As the Industrial Revolution took a hold in Victorian England so there developed a nostalgia for a less complicated more agrarian way of life. Many industrialists, merchants and members of the professional classes who made their fortunes in cities or factories sought a rural retreat in order to establish their credentials and gain social respectability. Building or acquiring a country seat and then furnishing it with art and livestock was an essential way in which to gain access into the privileged world of the aristocratic establishment. Edward George Barnard is a fabulous example of this social mobility and demonstrates how meritocracy was challenging the privilege of birth that had largely dominated English society throughout the C18th. He was born into a family of ship builders and amassed extraordinary wealth. In 1824 he purchased Gosfield Hall in Essex from the Marquis of Buckingham. The hose can be seen in the distance behind these impossibly fluffy prize sheep!