Antique Bovine Lithograph for James J. HIll | 1914
Here we have your typical antique lithograph of milking shorthorn cows in a dance line holding their pose, commissioned by one of the biggest tycoons of the turn of the century, James J. Hill. How the photographer G.S. Parsons convinced those cows to hold that pose, I'll never know. "Stay, cows!"
All kidding aside, James J. Hill was serious about his premium cattle business. So much so that he paid a premier English animal photographer to produce the print on heavy paper in the early 1900s. The piece comes out of the James J. Hill estate.
Here's the title and subtitle under the cow photo:
Group of Milking Shorthorn Cows Imported from England to St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A., by James J. Hilll, August, 1914.
The image of the cows is so odd and interesting. By cutting and pasting all the cows into one frame, Parsons inadvertently produced one of the funkiest abstract images of cows this side of the Atlantic. They look like they're floating, possibly in the process of getting snatched up by a UFO. Outstanding.
Here are a few comment from the wikipedia page for James J. Hill:
-------------------- James Jerome Hill (September 16, 1838 – May 29, 1916), was a Canadian-American railroad executive. He was the chief executive officer of a family of lines headed by the Great Northern Railway, which served a substantial area of the Upper Midwest, the northern Great Plains, and Pacific Northwest. Because of the size of this region and the economic dominance exerted by the Hill lines, Hill became known during his lifetime as "The Empire Builder".
He also ran model experimental farms in Minnesota such as North Oaks to develop superior livestock and crop yields for the settlers locating near his railroads. --------------------
The rare lithograph measures just under 29" wide and 21" tall. The images of the cows in the dance line measures 19" x 11". If there's such a thing as an unused print, I think this is it. I don't think it was ever framed. The edges curl slightly in a few places. There is a small indentation in the lower left corner (see pic). Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
This is just great. I'm not going to beat out that image with my feeble words.