Ross Butler (1907-1995) was a farmer, photographer, songwriter, livestock judge, cattle and poultry breeder, pioneer of cattle artificial insemination, painter and sculptor of farm animals, as well as an author. He was a descendant of United Empire Loyalist Colonel John Butler.
Butler was born in 1907 in Norwich, Ontario, Canada.
Butler began his career as an artist in earnest in the 1920s with a few commissioned portraits and paintings of animals. Notability came in 1939 when Butler was commissioned by the education and agriculture ministries to create a series of pictures of farm animals to be placed in schools across Canada.
The contract called for more than 500 "Standard Type" paintings of each breed of cattle, swine, horses, sheep, poultry and other Canadian livestock. Butler's unusual commission was big news. The story ran in newspapers around the world, including the National Enquirer.
Ross Butler, was known as "the world's leading livestock artist"1. He created more than 500 works in his lifetime. His painting of the Springbank Snow Countess was the model for the Springbank Snow Countess monument located on Dundas Street East in Woodstock, Ontario. Another of his sculptures was at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1952. It was a life-size butter sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II and her horse, Winston, to commemorate her coronation.
Butler was a founding father of the Oxford Jersey Club, the first president and manager of the Oxford Museum, the founder of the Oxford Historical and Museum Society and the "Central Unit" – the first independent, all-breed artificial insemination facility for cattle in Canada.
He authored his autobiography, My Father's Farm.
Butler's achievements as an agricultural artist were recognized posthumously in June, 1997, when he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Agricultural Museum in Milton, Ontario and into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in November, 1997, at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
He died in 1995 at his 100-acre (0.40 km2) studio-art gallery-farm in Oxford County, south of Woodstock, on Highway #59. Today, the Butler studio-art gallery-farm is operated by his son, David Butler.