Painting of a Guernsey Cow by D Corbet

Contributed by velobella

Painting of a Guernsey Cow by D Corbet

This painting of a Prizewinning Guernsey Steer by Denys Corbet, a well known local painter and poet of the Victorian and early Edwardian age, reflects the importance of this pure breed to Guernsey during this period.

The Guernsey breed is thought to have been derived from the Isigny cattle of Normandy and the Froment du Leon of Brittany but whether this dates back to when the island was first occupied by the Normans in the 1st century AD is not so certain. The Guernsey was first recorded as a separate breed at the turn of the 18th century and imports of cattle into the Island were banned from 1789 in order to maintain its purity. Around this time cattle and semen exports became increasingly important to Guernsey and now the breed can be found all over the world, with many countries forming their own Guernsey Cattle organisations to ensure the purity of the breed.

The quantity and quality of the milk produced by the Guernsey cow is world famous. Its golden colour reflects the very high content of beta carotene, a source of Vitamin A.

Denys Corbet wrote mostly in Dgernesiais, or Guernsey French. His best known works include L'Touar de Guernesy and Les Feuilles de la Foret.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


Guernsey, Channel Islands




View more objects from people in Guernsey.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.