British legend of agriculture and noted athlete.
1779-1854 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936); original portrait by James R. Stuart
Impact & Accomplishments
When the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Collection was first conceived in 1903, Henry F. Brown commissioned James R. Stuart to paint portraits of several British legends of agriculture, including Robert Barclay-Allardice, the 6th Laird (Scottish lord) of Ury. Captain Barclay, as he was best known following military service, was a gentleman farmer who advanced the Shorthorn foundation of Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
His grandfather and father were credited with greatly improving thousands of acres of farmland and establishing the county as an agricultural leader. In 1842 Captain Barclay published an “Agricultural Tour of the United States and Upper Canada,” documenting the farms he toured while helping a relative purchase land in America and comparing the agricultural methods and results he observed with those in Britain.
Barclay’s greatest claim to fame, however, was as an athlete, specifically, an “endurance pedestrian.” In 1809, he became a celebrity after successfully walking 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours for a reward of 1,000 guineas. For forty-two consecutive days and nights, he walked one mile each and every hour. Millions of pounds were wagered by interested citizens, and the feat was heralded as one of the most newsworthy events of the time.