Berkshire Pig, Dittisham Lady 22
Sire: Redings Ambassador. Dam: Dittisham Lady 5.
Best January Gilt or Boar – Newbury Show 2006
The Berkshire pig originated in the Thames Valley, possibly around Wantage, circa 1790 and began as a large tawny red pig, spotted with black; very different to todays Berkshire. The introduction of Asian bloodlines in the late 18th C eventually resulted in the smallish prick-eared black pig we recognise today, with its dished face and white markings at head, feet and tail.Read more...
Whilst pouring over lists of previous champions, I noticed the name, Sue Fildes appearing often. Her pigs won at nearly every show, and she lived less than an hour away, near Dittisham on the river Dart. A visit followed.
I arrived on a foggy late July morning and rode up to the pig enclosures in Sue’s tractor. Initially I had intended to sculpt Dittisham Lady 5, Best of Breed at the Royal Show that year, but she had passed her peak and was no longer in show condition, being about to farrow. Sue told me that although she had not won a really major championship yet, the best pig she owned was Lady 5’s daughter, Dittisham Lady 22. So Lady 22 it was! As luck would have it, she still hasn’t won a major – sows are shown pregnant, but not too pregnant, and Lady 22 has never been in the right condition at the right time. But there is no doubting her quality; her daughter, Dittisham Lady 36 won Champion of Champions at the Berkshire [formerly Newbury] Show in 2009, meaning that she was officially the best Berkshire in the country that year.
Lady 22 was a delightful, perky little pig; full of energy – always chasing after Sue and her bucket of pig nuts. It was quite a job getting the necessary reference, as she trotted in and out of the swirling mist.
I sculpted her as I had seen her – head up, tail held high, hot on the trail of something tasty!
I chose a patina matching her markings – glossy black with creamy white face, feet and tail tip; and a nice pink nose!