Fine Multi-View Lithograph of One of America's Greatest Horse Breeding Farms
With Mechanization Yet on the Horizon - American Agriculture Still Needed Strong Horses
Fine lithograph print with detailed views of Oaklawn Farm, which at the time was the world's largest horse breeding farm in America.
Includes a fine general bird's-eye view of the farm, including Dunham Castle at the far right. The top and bottom images show the farm's operations, including;
- Quarters for Brood, Mares and Colts (2)
- Superintendent's House
- Stallion Stables
- Weaning Stables
- Foaling Stables and Exercise Yards
Oaklawn Farm is an historic horse breeding farm in Wayne, Illinois. The property was, for many years, operated by the Dunham family, who successfully bred Percheron horses. The property features the chateauesque Dunham Castle, which was built by Mark Wentworth Dunham in 1880. The property is stil used as the Dunham Woods Riding Club. The farm was recognized by the National Park Service as a Historic Place in 1979.
The area around Oaklawn Farm was first settled in 1835. In 1865, Mark W. Dunham purchased the land and built a home on the property. Three years later, he organized the Fletcher Norman Horse Company, planning to to raise Percheron horses as studs. The idea was to breed sturdier horses for the newer agricultural machinery then in use. They bought two stallions from Perche, one of which (Success) became the most notable Percheron breeder of all time.
Durham became a prolific breeder and imported over 1,300 horses from France by 1883 raising the profile of Oaklawn Farm to international status. In 1888, it was estimated that one-fifth of all imported French horses lived at Oaklawn.
Agricultural exhibitors from the World's Columbian Exposition tested out machinery on the Oaklawn property, so the farm was visited by many famous names, including Daniel Burnham, Marshall Field, and Carter Harrison, Sr.
As the demand for draft horses decreased with mechanization in the 20th Century, Oaklawn ceased operations in 1929, and the Dunham family sold much of the property. The remainder was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 26, 1979.
Dating The Image / Shober & Carqueville
Though we cannot attribute the artwork of the present lithograph it is interesting to note that Dunham issued a catalog to prospective clients which had some illustrations by Rosa Bonheur, a famous French artist known for her realistic paintings of animals, including the striking "proto-cinematic" 1853 painting, The Horse Fair, which depicts Percherons and other draft horses at the Paris horse market on the Boulevard de l'Hôpital.
Shober & Carqueville was a prolific lithographic firm that produced first class work, including a number of town bird's-eye views and a famous advertising illustration of the McCormick Harvesting Machine.
While the print is undated, the family residence, Dunham Castle was completed in 1883, and the lithography firm of Shober & Carqueville operated under that name until 1895.
A fine and rare lithograph view of a major American horse breeding farm in Illinois, and a wonderful visual record of a part of America's agricultural economy on the cusp of major transformation through mechanization.
We can find no record of this rare lithograph view in any of the usual sources. No institutional holdings noted in OCLC. No sales records on RBH.