W. H. Davis
An Improved Short Horned Cow
24.5 x 19.5
A hand-coloured lithograph painted and drawn on stone by W. H. Davis and published in London in 1837.
Implausibly large cows such as this were all the rage in early C19th England. As they grew fatter and fatter, they gained almost celebrity status and often went on tour around the country, attending country shows where people would pay to have a peek and marvel at their girth. Proud owners would appoint an artist to paint a portrait of their prize beast and sometimes commission a print to boot. This particular cow would have had a long journey down from Bedfordshire to Smithfields and it's highly likely that once she'd won her prize, she would have been butchered; an ignoble end for a stellar career! It is interesting to note that W. H. Davis was the official "Painter to Her Majesty" and impressive that he was also a dab hand at lithography!