A large oil on canvas portrait of the Shire Horse, Lymm Grey, pictured with his first prize rosette at the Shire Horse Society' Show in 1907, signed Fred Thurlby (bottom right) and dated 1907,
Framed in its original oak frame, with a homemade metal plaque with hand written inscription, now badly tarnished, and the text all but unreadable, other than the horses’ name, his owner and date.
Luckily, researching online, I found in the ‘Mark Lane Express, Agricultural Journal’ of 1907 a photograph of Lymm Grey, with
I presume, Mr James Gould, his breeder.
The text beneath the newspaper photograph reads:
“The Shire Stallion Lymm Grey, winner of the First Prize for Yearling Stallions and the Cup for the Best Young Stallion at the Shire Horse Society’s Show this year. Lymm Grey whose sire was Severn Bradford, dam Darling, was bred by, and is the property of, Mr J Gould, Crouchley, Lymm, Cheshire.”
The Mark Lane Express, Agricultural Journal is available on archive.org. Page 779, and is a fascinating glimpse into the farming world of 100 years ago.
Sight: 23" x 17" (58.5cm x 43cm)
Frame: 26.5" x 20.5" (67.5cm x 52cm) ((about thurlby.
Mr James Gould’s Shire horse stud was based at Couchley Hall Farm, Lymm, Cheshire, England, until 1946 when the farm was sold.
Mr Gould was a successful and well known breeder and sold his horses all over the world. In 1907 he was exporting his grey shire horses to Iowa, and showed and sold his shires at the Royal Agricultural Show in Sydney in 1912.
Much later, Joyce Stranger’s 1966 book “Breed of Giants”, although set in Cumberland was based on the stories of Mr Gould’s horses at Crouchley. Everything described in the book happened to Gould's horses, which she described as "wonderful animals, that had triumphed over and over again in the shows."
Mr Gould is also mentioned in “The Shire Horse in Peace and War” of 1915, a lovely little publication available free online from Project Gutenberg:
“Of stud owners who have climbed to prominence, although neither landowners, merchant princes, nor erstwhile stud managers, may be mentioned Mr. James Gould, Crouchley Lymm, Cheshire, whose Snowdon Menestrel was first in his class and reserve for the Stallion Cup at the 1914 London Show.”
The Artist: Frederick Thurlby (Fred) 1865-1946
Was born at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire in 1865, the son of Joseph Thurlby (1829-1889), a groom and his wife nee Welborn (1823-1912).
His father was a groom at Belvoir stables at Grantham, Lincolnshire and in 1889 Fred is also recorded as being a groom at the same stables.
By 1901 Fred was 'a grazier' living at Woolsthorpe Street, Grantham and by 1911 he was described as an animal painter.
He lived until 81 years of age and never married. He was an itinerant painter of prize livestock in and around Lincoln and Grantham and there is a painting of a stallion in the Suffolk Punch Heavy Horse Museum.