Artists, scribes, stone workers, glaziers and builders have all depicted animals representative of their times … some mythical, some real … the bestiaries are compendiums (compendia) of beasts …
From these early ‘art forms’ we can see how animals have evolved over the centuries … and understand as our knowledge increased …
|Groom with Horse and Hounds -|
Peter Tillemans (1734)
... the realisation by man in the Middle Ages as to how animals could be specially bred for different purposes.
|Cattle Watering by|
William Huggins (1871)
These breeding patterns were then recorded … and as artists moved from portraiture, to landscapes … and ultimately on to recording animals - domestic, farmed and wild – we can see and note the changes …
|Girl with Pigs by|
… then how each breed evolved … and how essential all the aspects of their breeding programmes are … to maintain the strength of each breed … or to match the desired type of animal …
|Donkeys by Harrison Weir (1824 - 1906)|
That is Y for Y Artists of all disciplines recording the changes in form of all the animals they portrayed … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …
Counties with the letter Y …
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
Northern Ireland: None
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As some one with less than no artistic ability I am always awed and grateful to see their work. Whatever the topic. And will now look at animal portraiture which a new perspective. Thank you.
A week ago, I had the opportunity to visit an art museum in one of our Amercan state capitols (Richmond, in Virginia). There was an entire section devoted to British sporting art, which I skipped (I only had limited time there) but I wonder what I missed. Maybe one day. The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com
We have a window in the village church that depicts shorthorn cattle, made famous by a local inhabitant years ago.
Lovely Hilary thank you ... and there's something special about seeing animals in pasture, in nature. The Gainsborough is lovely, The Winged Lion in stained glass also ... Horse and Hounds - all a connection with Mother Nature. The eye is pleased, the heart softens.
Some of the artists capture animals so well, especially the expressions. I am in awe of many such paintings.
What a lovely article. Beautiful pictures.
I think most people would rather look at a picture of animals than one of people.
Beautiful paintings! We have a few in the National Gallery of Victoria, including a horse being attacked by a lion. Ouch!
But I never tire of them.
Y Is For Dr Yes And Other Oriental Get Smart Characters
I always enjoy looking over the species and wonder where a few evolved from such as a winged lion from perhaps a fable.
Last autumn I visited some cave paintings in Zimbabwe that dated back to 1250. They all featured animals; lions, giraffes, beasts of burden. Amazing.
Another day in Amble Bay!
I love the Huggins!
Paintings depicting pastoral and domestic scenes are always my favorite. I think because it is a glimpse into history. Love the girl with the pigs. :)
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Donkeys by Harrison Weir. Is it donkeys painted by an artist named Harrison Weir or a painting of donkeys standing by a weir named Harrison? This things keep me awake (in the afternoon only!)
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Great approach to Y, and some lovely art.
Phillip | Y is for Year of the Monkey | Y is also for Yellow
Nice to see artists considered as important, because they are. :) It's interesting to see the animals as they were or were portrayed in these older paintings. Like the horse with the very small head.
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Art has told us so much about our history. All the ones you've chosen to feature are great, but I just love those donkeys!
Have a great weekend,
artists through the years have chronicled animal history. A painting is worth a thousand words
Carl Linnaeus changed the world. How did he even think it would work? Well, I know how, but it still amazes me.
Beautiful artwork, thanks for sharing :-) Happy A-to-Z-ing.
@ EC – I’m in your category too … but do love to see works of art. Animal portraiture now looks more interesting as you rightly point out.
@ Bookworm – oh gosh what a pity about missing the section – still I hope you get to go back at some stage and have a good look … I imagine it’d be really interesting … the Brits were pretty keen on their sports and animals …
@ Bob – that must be wonderful to see the shorthorn cattle portrayed in the church window – lucky you …
@ Susan - you’re right about the eye being pleased, which helps the heart soften. There were some incredible artists around …
@ Vinodini – anyone who can paint gets my admiration!
@ Kim – glad you enjoyed it with the images …
@ Arleen – very probably … yet we all hanker to see what we looked like … I guess we need both!
@ Sue – thank goodness the art works are spread around the globe now and can be seen by many … a lion attacking a horse – definitely ouch! But there is so much detail to see …
@ Steve – we can never know where the myths and legendary artworks or sculptures came from … but they are always incredible to see … in stone, in stained glass, medieval texts … just fascinating …
@ Keith – lucky you … I’ve seen caves in other parts of southern Africa but not Zimbabwe – it was a no go area back then … the depictions are so life-like …
@ Jz – the Huggins is special isn’t it – love seeing cattle depicted like this …
@ Sara – you’re right … if we spend enough time looking at the works and thinking back to their days ..so much has changed – as you mention a glimpse into history … I tried to vary the animals shown …
@ Bazza – the Donkeys are painted by Harrison Weir – he’s an interesting artist … at some stage I’ll do a post on him … hope that clarifies matters!
@ Phillip – glad you appreciate my take on ‘Y’ … and the artists with their works shown …
@ Jean – yes artists do record what is going on around their world – which enlighten us when we search them out … a lot of breeding went on so the animals evolved with man’s help …
@ Andrea – yes art does tell us a lot about our history … and I’m glad the images I’ve chosen make sense to feature … yes the donkeys I couldn’t leave out …
@Joanne – as you say … a painting is worth a thousand words … and we have lots of images through time …
@ Jacqui – Linnaeus was very clever and had the right temperament to devise his system … one day I’d like to write a post on him … he warrants me to get more knowledge!
@ Ronel – so glad you enjoyed the art and the post …
Cheers to you all – just enjoy this evening and tomorrow – and next week can gently wrap up … all the best Hilary
This is a beautiful post. I think it is really interesting to see old breeds depicted in art. The art becomes a history lesson.
It is wonderful that artists have the talent to make drawings and paintings that look almost like photographs. I had no idea that targeted breeding began in the Middle Ages. Interesting.
Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Yuletide at the Olón Orphanage
What a delightful selection of art to view. While my interest has always leaned more into the plant kingdom, your series Hilary has really made me much more aware and curious about so many of these foundational members of the animal kingdom.
Such beautiful artwork.
That stained glass painting is my favorite
Thanks for sharing
A Peice Of My Life
Nice artwork, but the donkeys are my favorite. That would could go over one of my fireplaces!
If we can see and note the changes Hilary, does that mean we used to have winged lions LOL?
I love the artwork, especially the Winged Lion in stained glass!
Writer In Transit
I haven't considered how artwork reflects the changes in animals. Very interesting. Thank you!
Trudy @ Reel Focus
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Oh wow I love those old paintings how I wish I was wealthy!! That to me is art, I do not like the modern 'stuff'. Have a great Sunday Diane
Records are incredibly important to keep! Great post!
That donkey painting is charming. I like all the old and often rare breeds of cattle, sheep, etc. Prince Charles among others works to keep them from becoming extinct, thank goodness.
I never thought about that before. That, being when people realized that they could breed animals for specific purposes. Very interesting and lovely paintings.
Yours is the first A to Z challenge post I've seen. I've been so out of the loop.
Y is a tough one, right? I thought you might write about Yellow Chickens or Yeast in the UK. Congrats on getting to Y. https:// Maui Jungalow
Interesting to think about how those depictions changed over the centuries.
That's so neat that the art has clues about changes in the breeding! Frankly I'd as soon look at animal portraits in depictions of nature than at portraits of humans...just my preference :)
There's more to this art than meets the eye. Interesting, as always, Hilary. My mother left me a beautiful painting of wild horses on a hill in a thunderstorm. It's my favourite. ☺
@ Claire – thank you … art certainly can bring life to history and thus the other way round …
@ Emily –oh gosh, don’t I wish I could draw and paint – but some artwork is quite extraordinary; I guess through watching the natural world it was realised that animals with different characteristics could be bred and thus targeted breeding became a concept … and an art!
@ Deborah – thank you … Rare Breeds of sorts … but I’m glad these posts have given you an insight into our rarer breeds – as I too understand their importance into natural world as a whole …
@ DeeDee – good to see you here … I love stained glass … so magical to see
@ Sage – thank you … I was glad to find the painting of the Donkeys by Harrison Weir – something different … it would look good over a fireplace –rather a costly fireplace-artwork I suspect!
@ Jo – sadly I think winged lions might be a stretch too far … but who knows what might have been way back when ?!
@ Michelle – thanks ... artwork can usually be brought into posts somehow – and shows us much … even mythological creatures …
@ Trudy – glad I could highlight that aspect of how art of the day can show the generations ahead of what life was like in reality terms …
@ Diane – oh yes, me too … I’m not too keen on the modern stuff either as I prefer to see the natural …
@ Tyrean – lovely to see you … we were lucky to have some amazing recorders of life … the Naturalists back in the 1600 – 1800s were brilliant contributors to our present knowledge …
@ Terra – yes Harrison Weir’s artwork of these donkeys is a delight to see. We’re lucky we have a number of supporters, including Prince Charles, who look out for our Rare Breeds and for keeping our natural history in place for future generations …
@ Inger – it is interesting how these puzzle pieces drop into place, even though we’d never realised these particular component parts of life … now of course it will be essential as the eras move on …
@ Kelly – how very kind of you … I’ll be over soon …
@ Courtney – I’m afraid I concoct to fit the theme … I have done ‘Y’s in the past though …
@ Liz – it’s so good to have the art work to show us what was what in the real world …
@ Nila – we’re lucky we’ve got these specific records and a variety to compare in each era, and over the centuries so we can see the changes. I think I’d rather look at animals and the countryside too … but each to his own … and we wouldn’t know what people looked like if there weren’t portraits in the early days …
@ Debbie – yes we can find other things depicted by the art … oh how wonderful about the painting your mother left you – I can see why you treasured it …
Thanks so much for visiting and being here adding to my posts – it’s lovely to see you all …. Cheers Hilary
These artists capture so much about the animals and their part in ours. Beautiful.
Donkeys are not typical in paintings. Sort of the underdogs of breeds.
Glad to see the donkey immortalised on canvas. The poor animal is always treated badly in our language and culture.
@ Lee - Artists are extraordinarily clever at showing us in detail what an animal or landscape looks like ... exactly as you describe ...
@ Sharon - Donkeys are not strictly Rare Breeds ... but sometimes one needs a change - well I did! Glad I did - that they're here for you ...
@ Cynthia - oh yes another pleased to see the donkey ... it does seem to have had a rough life in the general scheme of things ...
Thanks so much - I love finding art work that resonates ... cheers Hilary
Cattle Watering - definitely my favorite!
Hi Diedre - I have to say I was entranced by 'Cattle Watering'by Huggins ... thanks for coming by ... cheers Hilary
Artists help us record history and show us things we may not have ever seen with our eyes. Wonderful post! :)
Thanks Jess - artists and their interpretation of life, give us something to guide us centuries later ... and to contemplate how life was - as you have succinctly put! Cheers Hilary
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