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  • Writer's pictureKathy Winkler Studio

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

I could not resist the temptation of naming this painting, “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” because that’s what I think of when I see any “black sheep.” This simple English nursery rhyme dates back to 1761, when it was sung to a French melody, and a take off of the tune used for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and of course, the Alphabet song. It is amazing that the words to this song have changed very little in two and a half centuries.

The history and origins of the song were founded on the wool industry that was critical to England’s economy from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, making the song celebratory to say the least. The lyrics are said to have a connection to England producing the finest wool in Europe relating back to King Edward II (1307-1327).

There have been many songs written over time depicting “black” sheep, as well as, sheep in general. Hernando Cortez brought the first Churro sheep to his hacienda near Mexico City in 1538.

Although this Navajo Churro sheep ram is actually black, he looked “blue” in the sun. I thought his green eyes were just beautiful and full of expression. He is a lovely example of the small Charro sheep herd living at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.


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