An oil on canvas depicting The Craven Heifer, Britain's fattest ever cow, is to auction at Bonhams London on January 29. The Craven Heifer, which has been given a presale estimate of £3,000-5,000 ($4,800-$8,100), was painted by an unknown artist following its commission in 1811.
The original inspiration for the painting, a real life heifer bred and (over) fed by Reverend William Carr, became something of a national treasure during her lifetime, touring the country with her second owner, John Watkinson, and developing quite a following.
The Daily Mail reports Alistair Laird, director of paintings and prints at Bonhams, 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.
"A huge number of prints were made from the original painting which led her to become very famous.
"It was quite common for famers to commission paintings of oversized animals to advertise advances in breeding techniques."
The heifer, which lived for just five years, weighed 312 stone. Her record for heaviest cow in Britain remains intact to this day.
Other novel items also set to appear at auction over the coming months include an unusual painting of George "The Coachman" Stevenson - the boxer whose death provoked the regulation of bare knuckle fighting in Britain - which carries a $24,000 top end estimate ahead of its January 29 appearance, and an 18th century sex manual, which is due to cross the auction block in Edinburgh on Wednesday (January 16), with a £400 ($642) high estimate.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we also have a range of investment grade items that are sure to provoke a response, including this exceptional and fascinating collection of Albert Pierrepoint memorabilia, which includes casts of Pierrepoint's hands and face.
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