This watercolour is one of several by Christine Ironside that celebrates her love of India and its culture. It depicts an everyday scene in India which shows the beauty of the sacred cow. Four cows have been included, each a different colour and adorned with decorations, including floral patterns on their flanks that resemble handprints. They are driven forward by the man behind them-- the cowherd of the title-- assisted by a pair of dogs running alongside. The background includes a series of palm trees, and a bird flying above the cattle in the distance.
The figures are highly stylised: they have a flat quality created by solid blocks of colour. There is also a playful aspect to the piece, as indicated by the cow looking back at the cowherd with a smile on its face. The colours are warm and vivid, consisting of pinks, oranges, terracottas and yellows which help to convey the heat and vibrancy of the scene and evoke the feel of India.
Born in Aberdeenshire in 1953, Christine Ironside attended Edinburgh College of Art from 1971 to 76. As well as travelling widely on various grants and scholarships, she has participated in numerous exhibitions throughout Scotland.