Today, two cow groups on the shelf in my office set this city girl pondering about the color of a cow's tail. Googling revealed that most cows do indeed have tails that match their bodies. Yet these two Staffordshire cows have pink tails!
I suspect you've noticed that both cow groups have identical bocage leaves and flowers. They, along with other pearlware figures that share these and other attributes, belong to a group believed to have originated from the same small potbank. We may never know the name of the mystery potter who produced these Staffordshire figures, but contemplating the characteristics they share is part of the fun of collecting.
Until today, I had not thought of the color of cows' tails as being of any significance. As the painting was done by a person who may have been employed by many potbanks over time, it really doesn't prove much. But I searched through my large cow picture archive--and I can find only a handful of cows with pink tails. And yes, all have bocage structures confirming they came from the same potbank. So we deduce that for a while someone who thought cows had pink tails worked in our mystery potbank.
BTW, cows with milkmaids are quite rare and I believe standing milkmaids are even less common than seated milkmaids. There is a seated milkmaid in Brighton Museum's Willett collection (cow has pink tail and same bocage as the cows above). It is pictured in my book People, Passions, Pastimes, and Pleasures: Staffordshire Figures 1810-1835.
If you have a cow with a pink tail, please share it with us!