Sheep portraits by fashion photographer Paul Farnham, from the beautiful endpapers of Beautiful Sheep.
Had an "I miss my sheep, poor me" moment in the local Barnes & Noble and wound up driving home with a copy of this lovely book.
Not that you actually need a book to learn a bit about different types of sheep — there are websites like this one with photos and info on gazillions of different breeds of sheep. Beautiful Sheep takes a less encyclopedic approach, and I like the results.
To begin with, the book restricts itself to several dozen sheep breeds of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland: the breeds a North American with border collies might find most interesting. The photographs are straightforward and respectful — fans of the William Wegman, dress-'em-as-people approach should give this book a miss. Is it just me, or do William Wegman's dogs always look wretchedly unhappy? Did you ever see a Wegman Weimaraner that didn't have its tail tucked? Me neither. And don't tell me looking miserable is just a Weimaraner thing. It isn't.
Topic. Excellent photos in Beautiful Sheep, and a info page for each breed. The breed write-ups are the work of Kathryn Dun, a veterinarian and Honorary Secretary for the Sheep Veterinary Society. She knows a mule from a terminal sire, in other words. According to the author blurb: "Kathryn helps show her family's North Country Cheviots and Scotch Mules at numerous events, including the Royal Highland Show." Cheviots! [Strangely, there is no studio portrait of a Cheviot in this book. I can't imagine why.]
Fascinating to look at the photo of a young Suffolk ram [incorrectly labeled a yearling ewe, to what I hope is the proof-reader's eternal shame] and compare it to the photo of an American show Suffolk in the collection of black and white photos at the back of the book.
Is Beautiful Sheep worth $13.57? [Or the 20 bucks I paid at Buy N Large?] I think so: it's attractive, informative, and a great book to keep handy when you're choosing stock for a dream farm... a little place in Central California with Bluefaced Leicesters and a Hill Radnor and a Welsh Mountain Badger Face and a Lincoln Longwool and many, many Cheviots...
Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds, by Kathryn Dun, with photography by Paul Farnham.