Esther Chadwick


16 November 2017

Thomas Bewick’s Sketchbook

A perfect farm animal, according to the 18th-century agronomist Robert Bakewell, would be shaped like a hogshead cask, ‘truly circular, with as small and as short legs as possible’. Bakewell’s ideal was founded ‘upon the plain principle that the value lies in the barrel’. There was no need for long limbs or lean necks: ‘all is useless that is not beef.’ This applied not only to cattle, but to pigs and sheep too, which after 1750 came to be reared as ‘production line animals’.


19 May 2015

Sandwiches at an Impeachment

The seven-year trial of Warren Hastings for high crimes and misdemeanours while governor-general of Bengal began in 1788. 'There have been spectacles more dazzling to the eye,' Macaulay wrote in 1841, more gorgeous with jewellery and cloth of gold, more attractive to grown-up children, than that which was then exhibited at Westminster; but, perhaps, there never was a spectacle so well calculated to strike a highly cultivated, a reflecting, and imaginative mind...