Brightwells Fine Art Sale - Day Two - Thursday 21st March 2019
A.M. GAUCI (op. circa 1848-1885)
'Merry Monarch', a Herefordshire Bull in a Meadow
signed and dated 'A.M. Gauci 1881' (lower left)
watercolour heightened with white
9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in (24.3 x 31.8cm)
Provenance: John Hill, Esq of Felhampton Court, Shropshire
Thence by descent
A label on the reverse is inscribed 'Merry Monarch used for many years in the Felhampton Court Herd '. A further inscription by another hand states that Merry Monarch was bred by R.L. Burton, Longner, Salop, calved June 23rd 1875. Sir Triumph 3rd (4211) Dam Peach.
'Merry Monarch is really a noble specimen of the High Bred Hereford. His broad forehead, full eyes, flat rooted horns with their wide and dimensional bend, even when only his head is seen but his head is a faithful index of the mass that follows it.... the front is 'immensely deep and grand...the bull has beef everywhere,very heavily packed behind the shoulder..' (History of Hereford Cattle by James Macdonald, 1886 )
John Hill built up an outstanding herd of cattle at Felhampton over a period of over thirty years between 1866 and 1898. Macdonald noted (op.cit) that 'Foreign buyers early discovered the merits of the Felhampton Court Herd and they made heavy drafts from it'. It is recorded that 'In 1882 and 1883 no less than 104 pedigree animals were sold from the herd', to foreign buyers from as far afield as Illinois, Chicago and Buenos Ayres.
'Merry Monarch' was purchased by John Hill at the Longner Hall sale of 1881. He became a valued member of the Felhampton Court Herd. Such was the esteem of John Hill for the bull, that on its death in 1888 he arranged for the horns of Merry Monarch to be mounted on a presentation shield which is included in this lot; sold together with a revised 1909 edition by James Sinclair of James Macdonald's book on the 'History of Hereford Cattle'.
A.M. Gauci came from a family of lithogravers and engravers. Although based in London, he appears to have regularly visited patrons throughout the Midlands during the period 1870 -1885.