Tamlyns 2008 Auction – Lot 056

The White Ox of Nannau – DANIEL CLOWES (1774-1829) – The Famous Nanney Ox, the last of the white herd of Nannau, slaughtered for the coming of age celebrations of the Vaughan heir, Robert Williames Vaughan, signed and dated, D. Clowes Pinxt 1824, inscribed, The Baron weighing 165 lb was roasted at Nannau June 25th 1824, and weight per quarter 246 lbs, 23.375 inches x 33.625 inches, re-lined, contained within the original ebonized moulded frame with gilt slip.

The high point of the meal was the introduction of the ‘baron of beef’ which was brought into the tented room by a small procession led by the old herdsman Sian Dafydd who had fed The White Ox over the proceeding months. Sian Dafydd, who’s portrait is also preserved for posterity in the picture, then greeted the assembled company with the customary Welsh greeting “Gwnewch yu Llawen” (Make Merry).

The preparations for the feast had been going on for some weeks. A new kitchen wing had been added to the recently built mansion for the occasion, and to accommodate the large number of guests, of which 197 sat down for the dinner, a long marquee was erected in front of the main house, a feature which can be seen in the picture. Sir Robert, ‘Yr Hen Syr Robert’ (Old Sir Robert) arranged for prints of the painting to be produced, and copies of these were probably presented to the guests. The lithograph was made by Charles Hullmandel (1789-1850) of London, the author of a well known treatise The Art of Drawing on Stone, who produced a faithful reproduction of the original picture.

The Clowes’ picture is a remarkable tour de force, and a fitting monument to such a noble beast. Gordon Edington, The Clowes Family of Chester Sporting Artists – A Visit to Nannau, Pages 12-13, Grosvenor Museum, Chester, 1985. Exibited, Grosvenor Museum, Chester,1985, No.21. Catalogue Raisonne D 25. The world of Sporting Art and The Grosvenor Museum have much for which to thank Mr Gordon Edington. It is only through his dedicated research that we have the first comprehensive study… and only by virtue of his perseverance that the exhibition was made possible. J.N.P. Watson; Animal Portraits By Father And Son – Daniel and Henry Clowes at Chester. Country Life, May 2nd, 1985. Nannau Schedule of Contents 1958, No.48.

Scan and Information Courtesy of Tamlyns.