This white Dorking Cockerel, with his magnificent tail feathers, was the property of Harrison Weir, the artist himself who painted the cockerel for the Poultry Book in 1853
Sadly there were colour plates of chickens in the original 1853 Poultry Book that haven’t been scanned and digitised. On reading these download books I’ve come across quite a few missing pages.
I’d love to have an actual copy of the original but I expect it’s well out of my price range – certainly more than a free download!
The 1853 Poultry Book has this to say regarding White Dorking Chickens
The White Dorking is a smaller framed bird than the grey; and their plumage, bills, and legs should be perfectly white. A rose-comb, moreover, is regarded as an essential point.
They are less hardy than their grey relatives. Our own, indeed, once kept in the east of England, proved unprofitable from that cause, and they are of course still less suited to our northern districts; but in the Scilly Islands, where they are kept in large numbers by the present Lord Proprietor, they have done well for several years past.
Their great beauty has induced many poultry-keepers to try them in their yards, and where appearance only is regarded, other deficiencies may be put aside; but for general purposes we must express our opinion, that as they are inferior to the grey in-hardihood and size, so must they also yield to the latter in respect of table purposes.
Their average weights are probably less by one or two pounds than those of the grey birds; and Mr. Bally has well observed that, “although it may appear anomalous, it is not less true, that white-feathered poultry has a tendency to yellowness in the flesh and fat.”