Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Adam Naming the Animals 1840s

John Miles of Northleach (1781-1849)

Adam Naming the Animals, John Miles of Northleach
Oil and Canvas
19th Century
71 x 98 cm. (28 x 28 1/2 in.)
Private Collection, UK.
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This exceptionally unusual zoological compilation - including English long horn cattle - is by the Gloucestershire based painter John Miles of Northleach, and would have been painted towards the end of his career in the 1840s. The composition reflects the escalating debate on creationism which in the next decade was to culminate in Charles Darwin's seminal scientific manifesto ‘On The Origin of Species’ (1859). Miles returned to this subject a few times during this period, although a study of his oeuvre suggests he typically specialised in animal and sporting scenes.
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