The industrial and agricultural revolutions transformed the face of Britain. Fiery blast furnaces, pit-head steam engines and fuming lime-kilns scarred a landscape cut across by canals, turnpikes and railways. Within enclosed pasture and parkland, farm and sporting animals of startling proportions and striking dimensions grazed and raced by serpentine lakes and Palladian piles.
One of the artists who depicted these prize bulls, pedigree sheep and thoroughbred stallions in Arcadian surroundings of bucolic tranquillity was Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury (1775-1844). Travelling from country house to house to paint pedigree animals for pedigree people, his journeys map the networks of kinship, patronage and social aspiration that linked the landed families and gentry of Georgian England.
Based on a unique and hitherto unexamined collection of Weaver's papers and pictures, including personal and professional correspondence, diary, contemporary newspaper cuttings, verse, and portraits of his family, Painter of Pedigree brings to life the work of an animal artist in the age of agricultural improvement, revealing the art, artistry and artifice that went into portraying and promoting these new breeds.