MISC_174_2015 - RASV Heritage Publishing bULL_FA




Top: The Young Bull & Herdsman Sculpture (as photographed in stereo) at the Melbourne Art Gallery and Museum - now the State Library Victoria.

Top: The Young Bull & Herdsman Sculpture outside the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria building at

the Melbourne Showgrounds



The Young Bull and Herdsman sculpture that

greets visitors to the RASV was first exhibited

at the Royal Academy, London in 1887 and

a year later was shown and sold at the 1888

Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne.

The sculpture was originally displayed in the

National Gallery of Victoria which, together

with the Museum of Victoria and State Library

of Victoria, shared the building complex

currently housing the State Library.

The Young Bull and Herdsman was gifted to

the RASV by the National Gallery of Victoria

in 1941.

Made of Sicilian marble, the Young Bull and

Herdsman, is the work of renowned British

sculptor and medallist Sir Joseph Edgar

Boehm (1834 – 1890).



Austrian by birth, Boehm settled in London

in 1862 and rapidly rose to acclaim. He was

a talented and prolific artist who enjoyed

the patronage of the British Royal family and

members of the aristocracy. Queen Victoria

greatly admired his work and appointed him

Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen in 1881.

Boehm portrayed Queen Victoria and Prince

Albert several times and their daughter

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, was his

most famous student.

The majority of Boehm’s works are portrait

busts but his great works include the colossal

statue of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle,

the Duke of Wellington in Hyde Park, Duke

of Kent in St George’s Chapel and General

Gordon in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Boehm also sculpted the large bronze St

George and the Dragon (1885) currently sited

outside the State Library Victoria.



The earliest reference to a Young Bull

and Herdsman sculpture on an 1869

price list reveals that Boehm initially

created a miniature bronze by this name.

At least four examples of the miniature

were sold and they can be found today

in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

and in private collections. The miniature

is largely the same as the marble

sculpture but there are minor variations

in the pose and the bronze is much more

textured in comparison to the marble.

The popularity of the miniature led

Boehm to create a life size plaster

version, which was shown at London

International Exhibition in 1871 with a

price tag of 500 guineas for plaster and

1000 guineas for a bronze sculpture.

(There do not appear to be any sales of

the work in plaster or bronze with the

South Kensington Museum purchasing

the original plaster from Boehm’s estate

after his death in 1891).

In 1887, Boehm reproduced the Young

Bull and Herdsman in marble and it

was prominently placed in the Central

Hall of the Royal Academy, London and

reproduced in several periodicals. The

work, together with St George and the

Dragon, was shipped to Melbourne for

the 1888 Centennial Exhibition.

The Young Bull and Herdsman recently underwent an extensive

conservation treatment to repair and stabilise it.

Proactively caring for and conserving our artefacts will ensure that

the rich history of the RASV lives on for future generations.

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