John Whessell after John Boultbee
The Durham Ox.
32 x 28 inches
A stipple plate engraving partially printed in colour and finished by hand; engraved by Whessell after Boultbee and published in London in 1802.
It is hard to imagine the excitement generated by cattle of this magnitude in Georgian England. The Durham Ox is one of the most famous of these extraordinary beasts that were bred to be disproportionately large and then taken on a grand tour around the country. In 1802, the year of this print, the Durham Ox had arrived in London and spent most of that year being gawped at by crowds who came to marvel at its size. It weighed in at an astonishing 171 stone and required a special carriage drawn by four horses to transport it around. A huge number of prints were produced at the time and sold in the print shops of London as a souvenir of this astonishing creature. After touring almost continuously for 5 years from 1801-1806 the ox sadly collapsed on leaving its carriage and had to be slaughtered in 1807; a short lived but spectacular career as one of our most celebrated farm animals.