A somewhat disturbing oil on canvas featuring Britain's fattest ever cow, The Craven Heifer, auctioned as part of Bonhams' Gentleman's Library sale in London yesterday evening (January 29). The corpulent composition brought £16,250 ($25,586) - a hefty 225% increase on its £5,000 high estimate.
Painted by an unknown artist in 1811, the original inspiration for the work - a real-life Heifer who had been bred and (significantly over) fed by her original owner, Reverend William Carr - became something of a national treasure after she toured the country with her second owner, John Watkinson.
The Craven Heifer still holds the British record for fattest ever cow, having weighed in at 312 stone. Despite the average life expectancy for a cow being 15 years, she lived for only five.
The Daily Mail reports Bonhams' Alistair Laird as commenting: "The Craven Heifer was so big that a special door twice the width of the other cows had to be built to get her in and out of the cow shed."
Collectibles that relate to the lives and careers of much-admired animals, persons or literary characters have historically done well at auction, as their worth is underpinned by an undiminished sense of affection. Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we currently have this similarly evocative original EH Shepard Winnie-the-Pooh sketch in stock, which depicts Pooh with a large pot of honey under his arm.
For more information on the investment potential of the art market, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to investing in art and photography.
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