George Garrard was a successful artist in oils when, in 1798, he conceived the idea of making models of the various breeds of cattle and sheep in England. At that time, many landowners and farmers were experimenting with the breeding of their livestock in order to produce beasts that were best suited for work, meat production and hardiness. Garrard’s inspired idea was that a scale model in plaster was superior to a two-dimensional image in order to show conformation and size of the finest stock.
William Alleyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter (1825-1895), inherited the title in 1867. He was a keen ‘gentleman farmer’ and agronomist. He owned a renowned pedigree herd of Shorthorn cattle, including the famous bull, ‘Telemachus.’ He patronised Garrard, both to supply models of livestock and to produce plaster reliefs within Burghley House.