LOW, David (1786-1859)
[Pl. 6] London: [Wilson & Ogilvie for] Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1842. Hand-coloured lithograph by Fairland from a drawing by William Nicholson, after a painting by William Shiels. Image size (including text): approximately 9 x 11 1/2 inches. Sheet size: approximately 12 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches.
A beautiful and carefully observed portrait of one of the most historically important breeds of cow, from David Low's 'The Breeds of the Domestic Animals of the British Islands', a famous pioneering work illustrating the forerunners of all of today's most important breeds of horses, cows, sheep and pigs.
Most likely descended from the ancient Celtic Shorthorn breed in Ireland, the Kerry Cow was first brought to the United States in the early nineteenth-century. Despite its initial success in North America, the breed could rarely be found on this continent after 1930 and now mainly inhabits southwestern Ireland.
David Low, professor of Agriculture at Edinburgh University, produced these beautiful lithographs as a reference for those interested in the infant science of selective breeding. He was concerned that the relatively simple basic concepts of matching a breed to its environment whilst improving its productivity were not understood by the majority of farmers or breeders. With the help of a government grant from Earl Spencer, Low set up the agricultural museum in Edinburgh. The artist William Shiels of the Royal Scottish Academy was commissioned to produce a series of paintings of all the significant breeds of economic significance in Great Britain at the time. These paintings were then used as the basis for Low's important work.
Cf. BM(NH) III, p.1184; cf. Mellon, Books on the Horse and Horsemanship 168; cf. Nissen ZBI 2564; cf. Wood p.442.