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Photograph: Highland Cattle
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Title: Photograph: Highland Cattle
Identifier: 2001.5.34
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1870-1876
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A black and white photograph entitled “Highland Cattle 3\\\ G.W.W.”. It depicts seven highland cattle standing in front of a lake. Standing to the proper left of the cattle are two men with staffs and a dog. In the background are hills.

Highland Cattle originated in the Highlands and west coastal islands of Scotland. These areas were severe in climate and lashed by the North Atlantic storms making the cattle a hearty breed. Throughout the long recorded history of Highlands, breeders have taken great care to retain the original characteristics of these cattle. Originally, the breed was divided into two classes, the West Highlands or Kyloe, and the Highlander. The Kyloes, raised on the western islands of Scotland, tended to be of a smaller size and had a higher percentage of black and brindled cattle than the mainland Highlanders. Today all members of the breed are called Highland. The Highland Cattle Society of Scotland was established in 1884 and the first Herd Book published in 1885. They are the oldest pedigree breed in the world. http://www.chcs.ca/ehistory.htm

“George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) was a Scottish photographer. After studying art in Edinburgh and London, he returned to his native city of Aberdeen in 1849 and established a business as a portrait miniaturist catering to the wealthy families of the North East of Scotland. In 1852 Wilson ventured into portrait photography. With his well-developed technical and commercial acumen and a contract to photograph the Royal Family while documenting the building of Balmoral Castle in 1854-1855, he established himself as one of Scotland's premier photographers. Pioneering the development of techniques for photography outside of the studio and the mass production of photographic prints, Wilson moved increasingly from portraiture to landscape photography in the 1860s. He also produced stereoscopic pictures whose main characteristic was that exposures were very short. By 1864 he claimed to have sold over half a million prints. The firm was one of the largest publishers of photographic prints in the world, competing with James Valentine, who was also a prolific photographer, with a large company in Dundee. The business survived until 1908, when it was wound up at auction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Wilson

Traveler’s in the 1870’s could not take their own photographs, so professional photographers would create albums with photos like these and sell them to travelers to commemorate their journey. In 1871 Elizabeth (Bessie) and Annie Harris (daughters of James Beveridge and Elizabeth) traveled to Europe to do a tour of Scotland, Ireland and England. In 1876, Lucy and Arthur Harris traveled to Scotland to visit their aunts in Perthshire. James Beveridge Harris’s sisters, Margaret Patton and Matilda Lindsay, both lived at Rose Terrace, Perth, with their cousin Margaret Anne Patton in the 1870s and 1880s. These photos could have come from any of those trips or have been sent by the Aunts, to the family at Benares.
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