In particular, the colossal Durham Ox and the famous herd of longhorn cattle bred by Leicestershire farmer Robert Bakewell.
Canine portraits on the other hand, like this signed work of a water spaniel shown above, are far less common in his oeuvre.
The 2ft x 2ft 6in (60 x 75cm) oil on canvas, painted towards the end of Boultbee’s life in 1806, had some craquelure and paint loss but generated decent bidding when it appeared at Lacy Scott & Knight (22.5% buyer’s premium) in Bury St Edmunds on June 12.
Estimated at £6000-8000, the privately consigned work was knocked down for £15,000 – an upper-range sum for the artist at auction.
LSK’s Ed Crichton told ATG the subject matter “undoubtedly played a major part in the hammer price”. The buyer was a major London gallery.
According to artprice.com, just one other canine portrait by the artist has sold at auction this century: a painting of an English setter against a similar backdrop which took $24,000 (around £13,000) at Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles in 2004.