'Sir Leoline' by David Dalby – £2800 at Thomson Roddick.

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These included a selection of trophies, books, photographs and archive material but also a small group of bovine pictures.

By far and away the most interesting – in fact the only one to sell for over £100 – was a painting of a shorthorn bull by the Yorkshire painter David Dalby (1794-1836).

The 19½ x 23½in (49.5 x 58.5cm) signed oil on canvas was dated 1823, possibly around the time the artist moved to Leeds after reputedly having to leave York due to the offence caused by a caricature he made of the local sheriff.

This picture was typical of Dalby’s accurate and highly finished animal paintings that he produced during the 1820s, although the subject matter was rarer for an artist who more commonly painted horses (and sometimes dogs).

It depicted a bull called Sir Leoline which was owned by a Mr Hutchinson. The latter may well have commissioned the portrait of the imposing beast to show off his prowess as a breeder.

Offered at the auction in Carlisle on March 19 with a £2000-3000 estimate, it drew admirers at the viewing and was eventually knocked down at £2800.

While horse-racing scenes by Dalby can often sell for more, this was a strong price for a bovine subject.

British beef


‘British School’ shorthorn cow – £1000 at Mellors & Kirk.

Meanwhile, at Mellors & Kirk (24% buyer’s premium) in Nottingham the day before, another early 19th century painting of shorthorn cow also drew interest even though it had a few condition issues. These included the paint on the 19¼ x 23¼in (49 x 59cm) oil on canvas being thin in places with signs of craquelure.

Catalogued simply as ‘British School’, it was estimated at £400-600 but a few interested parties clearly spotted some appealing touches, such as the animal’s head, as well as some overall folk-art charm. It sold at £1000.