Roast beef or “rosbif”

I’ve always liked paintings of cows. Not so much the cows of Lascaux but more the naive appearance of the English 18th and 19th century versions. The standard profile version, set in a stylised landscape is my favourite. My regular meanderings through the French countryside are filled with bovine encounters such as the cattle at Moulin Texier in the picture. French painters of that period seem to have given cows a miss, unless they are  seen wandering about in the background of a Watteau confection. It could be that they were involved in war and revolution, or were lost in interpretations of classical mythology. More likely they were eating them rather than painting them. In Lascaux, the paintings were more to do with the menu rather than in the pride of ownership of a fine beast. English cow painting has the same quality as the ever popular photographs of fine yachts in the Solent by Beken of Cowes ( could the family have originally been producing Cows by Beken). There is a very English attitude to pets which is not shared by the French, save for elegant ladies of a certain age in the cities of France. Most animals in France work and are then eaten. The others are only eaten in times of emergency, or in the case of rabbits and hamsters, because they breed very quickly thus saving the petrol needed to go to the shops. I doubt there are many vegans in France, and in the country around us, the only vegetarians will be English immigrants like ourselves. The name “rosbif” may have been attributed to our race on account of our complexions after exposure to summer sun, or our predilection for a huge amount of beer, wine and whisky which has led to our sanguine nature and complexion. The English rose is red.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Digital photography, Food and Photography, France, Landscapes, Photography, Photography holiday, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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