Henry Moore

Gowbarrow Park by Henry Moore, with thanks to York Art Gallery

Find the spot that inspired Henry Moore

Grid Reference: NY 3995 1976

What3Words: ///hardening.loft.areas

What3Words link: https://w3w.co/hardening.loft.areas

More about Henry Moore

Henry Moore was born in York in 1831 He was the fourth of the five sons of the painter, William Moore, all of whom became painters. He was educated at York and taught to paint by his father. He entered the Royal Academy School in 1853 and exhibited his first picture there the same year. He continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy for the rest of his life, becoming an associate in 1885 and a full Royal Academician in 1893. He painted in both oils and watercolours, becoming an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1876  and a full member in 1880.

Moore was primarily a landscape painter, painting all over England, and in 1856, Switzerland. From 1870 he focused on marine subjects. He had a scientific knowledge of wave forms acquired while painting outdoors beside the English Channel in all weathers. For many years, he lived in Hampstead, but died in Margate in 1895.

Moore's style was characterised by its meticulous attention to detail and its use of rich, saturated colours. He was known for his skilful handling of light and shadow, and his ability to capture the subtle nuances of the natural world. His paintings often had a dreamlike quality, with soft edges and a sense of tranquility and calm.

The Gowbarrow Park painting depicts English Longhorn Cattle. These were developed by the pioneer of animal breeding, Robert Bakewell (1725-1795). His aim was to improve livestock to provide meat for the increasing city populations following the Industrial Revolution. Through careful breeding, he improved the size, quality and speed of growth of what was known as the Dishley Longhorn (after Dishley in Leicester where Bakewell lived). They were widespread in both England and Ireland until the Shorthorn surpassed them in the 1800’s (the breed kept by Gowbarrow Hall Farm).

Photograph of  Melcombe, a 2 year old Longhorn bull drawn in 1862 ‘Robert Bakewell and the Longhorn Breed of Cattle’ by Pat Stanley, 1995, Farming Press Books
The English Longhorn declined for nearly 200 years and was rare by the 1960’s. This decline was due to the trend for large continental cattle that require housing over winter and feeding on cereals. The English Longhorns were rescued by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (founded 1973) and are now no longer rare. There is a modern trend away from cereal-fed to 100% grass-fed beef. This suits our native breeds, which evolved to thrive on the native grassland. Lowther Estate has 100 head of Longhorn cattle: “They are left to roam free throughout a large area of the estate all year-round and only given supplementary food if their welfare is at risk, for instance over winter when they can't graze due to excessive snowfall.”1
1 Jim Bliss, quoted in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, 15/4/21 SourcesWikipedia and www.thecattlesite.com