William Ward after Thomas Weaver
The Unrivalled Lincolnshire Heifer
24 x 20
A hand-coloured, mezzotint engraving by William Ward after the painting by Thomas Weaver and published in Lincolnshire in 1813.
It is hard to over emphasise the celebrity status of certain farmyard animals in the early C18th. There was a mania across the land for breeding animals that became increasingly large in girth to the point where they were unable to move unaided. Owners, breeders and livestock handlers would conspire to create the "fattest cow" on the circuit and once an animal's notoriety had been achieved it would literally be taken on tour around the country where people would pay to marvel at its dimensions. The culmination of this process might involve a much publicised exposition in London and a subsequent trip to Spitalfields where there followed slaughter and a selling off of the meat!