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Historic Beef Shorthorn painting fetches £10,000

A 19th century painting of a Beef Shorthorn heifer has found its way back to its former owner’s family at the same time as raising £10,000 for the Beef Shorthorn Society’s membership development fund.

Historic Beef Shorthorn painting fetches £10,000

The painting, dating from 1848, had been donated to the Society by the late Basil Mann who had inherited it from his uncle Alban Mann on his death in 1994 and was auctioned at the Society’s annual dinner at the Stirling Bull Sales.

Society operations manager Clive Brown explains that the painting had been in the Society’s possession for the last three years, but the Society had held back from doing anything with it during the pandemic.

“It was decided to auction it this year as a way to close off the breed’s bicentenary celebrations.”

Purchaser Ashley Warren of the Wappenham herd, Northamptonshire, takes up the story: “The picture had been owned by my step-grandfather, Alban Mann, and I always had a fascination with it during my childhood and teenage years, to the extent that I took it upon myself to research the story of the heifer and the painting as a teenager.

“When Alban Mann passed away in 1994, he left all seven of his grandchildren £40,000 each and that money was an amazing boost to my then fledgling business. However, the painting was left to his nephew, Basil, and earlier this year I’d commented to my wife, Sheena, that following Basil’s death the painting must have found a new home elsewhere.

“A couple of days after that passing comment, I received the Beef Shorthorn newsletter and was amazed to see the news of the painting and the plan to auction it. It was such a surreal moment coming so soon after I’d had that conversation.”

Having contacted the Beef Shorthorn Society to explain his connection to the painting Ashley headed to Stirling for the sole purpose of buying the painting. “The opportunity to own the painting that had held such a fascination hanging behind my grandfather’s chair all those years ago was one I couldn’t miss.

“I’d like to think he’d be delighted to see that I spent some of my inheritance securing a piece of family history and at the same time supporting the Beef Shorthorn Society and member and youth development within the breed.,” explained Ashley.

“The painting will have pride of place in our home and I will take enormous pleasure from seeing it everyday,” he added.

Clive Brown added that the auction took an emotional turn when the crowd heard the story of the painting following Ashley’s winning bid. “Very few people were aware of Ashley’s connection to the painting until after he bought it. It certainly made for a fitting end to the breed’s bicentenary celebrations.”