Vintage Roundup Bronze Bookends, Circa 1927

Presented are vintage bronze bookends, dating to circa 1927. The bookends show a raised-relief scene of two cowboys, lassos twirling, as they attempt to rope a running steer. The detail given to the steer, his horns, and body in motion is impressive, as is the detail paid to the horses and circling lassos. 

Cattle trailing, or cattle driving, was the principal method of getting cattle to market in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It provided many ranchers with a practical, economical means of marketing surplus livestock. It also achieved mythological stature as an aspect of the American frontier. 

The first recorded large cattle drive occurred in 1846, when Edward Piper herded 1,000 head from Texas to Ohio. By 1866, millions of heads of longhorn cattle were rounded up and driven toward railroad depots. Cattle were sold to northern markets for as much as $40 per head. It took between eight and 12 cowboys to move 3,000 head of cattle along cattle drives. Ranching continued to be widespread through the late 1800s, as white settlers were permitted to claim public lands on the Great Plains as “open range” to raise purchased cattle.

Cattle drives continued, but on a smaller scale, up until the mid-1900s, when most cowboys gave up the open trail life and were hired by private ranch owners in the West. Even though the cowboy’s role began to decline in the 1920s, Hollywood movies popularized the cowboy lifestyle with popular Westerns from the 1920s to the 1940s.  

CONDITION:

Two matching bronze bookends, with raised relief scene. Some rubbing to surface, with tarnish expected with age and past use, but overall very good condition. Felted bottoms. 

Dimensions:  4 ¾ H x 5 ¼ W x 2 ½ D




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