For my occasional theme Something of Interest, I thought it might be amusing to do this post on Michael Read’s Bull!
Michael Read is one of the sons of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and after Cozens Read died Michael took over the farm.
In 2000 we were very lucky enough to not only find the family farm but the current owners also kindly invited us in, plied us with endless cups of tea and showed us around. I can’t tell you how delighted I was to actually walk in the home of Cozens Read where he and his family walked, to actually look out of and touch the windows that he had looked out of and the worn steps going down to the basement was just something so special to see. We were told that the glass in the windows was the original glass – I remember that it was very thin compared to the glass we use. As the house was built before 1650 it was actually quite exciting for me (and probably very silly of me) to be thrilled to know it was THE glass that Cozens Read had looked out of too!!!
In the hallway as we walked into the house, there was a huge inglenook fireplace there and hanging above it was a portrait. Not a portrait like you and I would expect to see but a portrait of a prize bull!!!
This was a portrait that Michael Read had painted of his prize bull before it went to auction in 1802. He was so delighted with it he actually employed an artist to paint it’s picture!! And there it hangs to this day, in that house since 1802.
Michael Read’s Prize Bull
I apologise for the quality of the photo! The original was taken by a non-digital camera and the quality was not at all good for it to be added to this blog. While at the farm we were able to use our video camera so this photo is actually taken from our TV while showing that video!! Oh how I wish we had a digital camera back then and how I wish we took lots more photos!!
Underneath the portrait of the bull hangs another framed item. This is from a possible advert at the time stating that this bull was to be sold at auction, that it is owned by Mr. Michael Reed (different spelling to how he actually wrote his name).
Again this photo has been taken from our TV, so is really not very clear at all – and we did not take a photo with our non-digital camera either!! What was I thinking of???
Although not clear to read, part of this sign says that this particular Heifer was bred and fed by Mr. Reed and has never had any but Grain and Hay!
It is also stated that it is “A very capital” Heifer and is “Remarkably Fat”.
I can’t help thinking that if my ancestors went to the trouble of having a portrait of one of their animals, they must have had portraits done of family members!! And I just know that somewhere out there, there is a portrait of Cozens Read!!
I’m also wondering if Michael Read had any other prize animals and if so, did he have portraits for them too? And if so, where are those portraits?
Still, this was certainly an unusual find for me and I love it that this portrait of a bull has been hanging in that house for over two hundred years now!