• Image of 'Absolute Primogeniture'
  • Image of 'Absolute Primogeniture'

'Cow & Gate' first started in 1771, as a small grocery shop in Guildford, owned by the Gates family. In 1887, the business was run by two brothers; Charles and Leonard Gates, who decided to expand into the dairy trade, opening up a new business called 'The West Surrey Central Dairy'. Their best-selling product was fresh cream, which received royal approval, including Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of York.

The success of their cream business gave the Gates brothers a problem, huge quantities of leftover skimmed milk. In 1900, there was no public demand for low fat milks, so to get around their predicament they bought the latest drying equipment from America, and began selling milk powder to the bakery and catering trade for making puddings.

In 1904, they received a bulk order from the Medical Officer of Health, in Leicester; Dr. Killick Millard, who requested the powdered milk to be used as baby food. Dr. Millard had read reports from America that the health and survival rates of poorer children in New York were greatly improved when powdered milk was added to their diets. In 1900 around 15% of infants in Leicester failed to reach their first birthday, but after conducting trials with the milk powder, he began to see similar improvements in his own area. He published the results of his trials in medical journals and soon a demand for the new baby food began to come into Guildford from doctors and hospitals all over the country.

By 1920, the 'West Surrey Central Dairy' brand was so strongly associated with baby feeding the company eventually adopted 'Cow & Gate' as their new company name. In the 1930's 'Smiler'; the Cow & Gate baby logo, starts to appear on product packaging and advertising, where a version of him wearing a crown appears, with the slogan "The Food of Royal Babies".

'Primogeniture' has applied throughout history, by law or custom, for the firstborn male child to inherit the entirety of a family estate,
as well as inherited titles; most notably monarchies. In the absence of children, inheritance was passed to collateral relatives, usually males, in order of seniority of their lines of descent.

Since the rise of feminism, variations on primogeniture eliminated the rules of succession preferencing males over females. In 2013, the United Kingdom passed legislation to establish gender-blind succession laws to all the 16 countries of the Commonwealth monarchy, which would only apply for persons born after October 2011. This form of primogeniture; known as absolute, equal, or lineal primogeniture, was not practiced by any modern monarchy before 1980.

Dimensions: H 59cm x W 24cm x D 24cm

Mixed Media:
Vintage Composition Doll,
Vintage Cow & Gate Baby Food Tin,
Vintage Patty Tins,
Vintage Wheel,
Vintage Fluted Brioche Tin,
Vintage Aluminium Jelly Mould,
Vintage Biscuit Cutter,
3 x E10 LED Cabachon Lamps,
1 x 18W 24V LED Transformer
Junction box,
3 Core Red & White Round Fabric Braided Flexible Cable,
Plug fitted with a 3 Amp Fuse,
Threaded Bar,
Various Nuts, Bolts, and Washers,
D-shackle,
PAT Tested.

Please be advised:

Though these assemblage sculptures contain vintage doll components that may have once been played with by children, this piece is not a toy to be played with.

Overseas Enquiries:

For an overseas shipping quote please contact me by email

Also note - as these sculptures operate on UK voltage (220-240 V 50 Hz) you will need a voltage converter to use them overseas.

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