The plates in David Low's The Breeds of the Domestic Animals of the
(London, 1842), form a highly valuable record of the state
of animal husbandry at the start of the period when agriculture came
to be considered a science. Many of the breeds shown are now extinct,
although they are forerunners of today's breeds of domestic animals.
Low, who was a professor of agriculture at the University of Edinburgh,
hoped in his book to help farmers and breeders understand the importance
of matching a breed to its environment while improving productivity.
In addition to Low's text, William Shiels was commissioned to produce
a series of paintings of all the significant breeds then of importance
in Great Britain. William Nicholson made the drawings after Shiels' paintings
to convert them to hand colored lithographed plates.