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“The Highland Shepherd” by Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur - The Highland Shepherd

“The Highland Shepherd”

by Rosa Bonheur

“The Highland Shepherd” by Rosa Bonheur depicts a Scottish shepherd dressed in the traditional highlander attire of the 1800s. As a realist painter, Bonheur painted scenes in her painting from her first-hand experience. Her monumental artworks in France led to international fame and recognition, and as she traveled to Scotland, she met Queen Victoria en route. The Queen admired Bonheur’s work, and while in Scotland, she completed sketches for Highland Shepherd. This painting depicts a way of life in the Scottish highlands that was disappearing and had enormous general appeal.

To depict animals, Rosa Bonheur studied at a Paris slaughterhouse in 1845, a regular activity for an animal painter that she was the first to engage in as a woman. She became very popular in England. Bonheur was decorated with the French Legion of Honour in 1865 and was promoted to Officer of the order in 1894, making her the first female artist to be given this award.

Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur (1822 – 1899) was a French artist, a painter of animals, and sculptor, known for her artistic realism. Bonheur was considered to be the most famous female painter during the nineteenth century. The 1905 book called “Women Painters of the World”  was subtitled “from the time of Caterina Vigri, 1413–1463, to Rosa Bonheur and the present day”.

Her most famous work is this monumental, “The Horse Fair.” This work led to international fame and recognition. Bonheur routinely wore masculine clothes at home and in the country. She is quoted as saying: “I am a painter. I have earned my living honestly. My private life is nobody’s concern.”


  • “I am a painter. I have earned my living honestly. My private life is nobody’s concern.”
  • One of Queen Victoria’s favorite animal painters.

The Highland Shepherd

  • Title:                The Highland Shepherd
  • Artist:              Rosa Bonheur
  • Year:               1859
  • Medium:         Oil on canvas
  • Museum:        Kunsthalle Hamburg

Rosa Bonheur

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“A misty morning may become a clear day.“
– Scottish Proverbs


Photo Credit: Rosa Bonheur [Public domain]

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