Search for the Roots - Oriental Owls Satinettes and Blondinettes
First imports of Satinettes from Smyrna to England about 1855
It is undisputed that the Oriental Owls were introduced to other
countries from Asia Minor. The Greek Caridia, originating from
Smyrna (today Izmir), had a great merit at the introduction to
England. According to Lyell (1892) that was around 1865. For sure
earlier, since in December 1864 a fancier H. Noye wrote in the
Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener that he imported the
breed and successfully exhibited his pigeon the last two years in
almost every show in England. Probably even about 10 years earlier,
since Ludlow in his breed review in the same Journal September 1871
wrote of imports “sixteen years ago”, thus about 1855. That fits
with information that Machin, former president of the English
Oriental Frill Club and known to Caridia in person gave in his
monograph of 1919. Caridia himself, who presents the race in detail
in the ‘Fulton’ 1876, does not give an exact date. The names of the
color classes such as bluettes and silverettes come from English
breeders, as well as the names Satinette (the specific pied marking)
and Blondinette for the two main groups.
Fig. 1: Pigeon Breeds from the Orient at Fulton 1876. Oriental Owls
Blondinettes, Turbiteens and black Capuchines and Damascenes.
Source: ‚Taubenrassen. Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften, Achim
Creation of Blondinettes in Asia about 1850
Both groups were created in the Orient. Statements that Blondinettes
have no oriental origin, but originated in England, are wrong.
However, Satinettes have a longer history. Blondinettes, on the
other hand, were created at the time, when Caridia was still living
in his native country. Wright (1879, p. 177) dates it with 1850.
Caridia even was involved in the process to create them: “About
twenty-four years ago one of the principal Oriental fanciers
conceived the idea of breeding, if possible, every variety they
possessed with the grouse-muffs of the Satinettes. He commenced
first with the Owl tribe, and he succeeded in breeding from a cross
of a silver Owls and a Satinette a blue Owl with partially feathered
legs. He then mated this blue Owls with a Satinette hen, and this
cross produced the first Blondinette, which I succeeded in obtaining
from him… This proved a cock bird, and soon after I met with a
similarly bred hen, as nearly like the cock as possible, bred by a
Turkish fancier, which I procured, and mated to the cock I had; but
before these birds began to breed, I departed for America, where
after a year, I received the information that my stock was in the
hands of the old Presbyter I alluded to previously. Under his care
their cultivation commenced, but very soon it spread, and became the
principle aim of every fancier…” (Caridia at Fulton 1876, p. 313).
If the statement at Levi (1969) is correct, that the text from
Caridia for the ‘Fulton’ was still written in 1874, the first
crosses to develop Blondinettes indeed were done in 1850, as written
Fig. 2: Oriental Owl Satinette shortly after the introduction to
England, and Blondinette dun-laced at Machin 1919. Sources: Journal
of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, September 1871, Machin 1919.
Import of Blondinettes to England about 1870
At Machin, the story to create Blondinettes reads as follows:
“The Satinette then being firmly fixed, these Eastern fanciers
turned their attention to producing other varieties of the Oriental
Frill family, the Satinette playing a very important part in their
production. Thus some fifteen years after the introduction of the
Satinette we were introduced to the charming Blondinette.” Probably
about 1870 since Blondinettes as a variant are briefly mentioned by
Ludlow in his review 1871 and a Blondinette was mentioned in a show
report in the 1872 issue of the ‚Journal of Horticulture and Cottage
Gardener‘ on the exhibition in ‚Sedgefield‘. Impressive the graceful
image of a Satinette 1871 by Ludlow and the color plates of
Satinettes and Blondinettes by him in the ‘Fulton’ 1876. Photos of
early Satinettes and Blondinettes can be found in Machin's monograph
3: Modern Satinettes (left and in the middle) and Old Oriental Owls
Satinette (right). Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics
in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012
Fig. 4: Old Oriental Owls Blondinettes.
Source: Sell, Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer
Gestaltung, Achim 2019
Back to the Roots? Modern and Old Oriental Owls
A look at the pictures of the historical images and today shows that
from the phenotype today's Old-Oriental Owls are not mistaken in
their name. For those who are interested in the evolutionary lines
of breeds, a look into the historical literature may be useful. Too
easily wrong statement done without background knowledge are taken
from others as proven truths.
Assmus, W., and W. Hegemann (eds.), Mövchentauben international,
Fulton, R., The Illustrated Book of Pigeons. London, Paris, New York
and Melbourne 1876.
Levi, W., The Pigeon, Sumter S.C., reprinted 1969.
Ludlow, J.W., The Satinette, Journal of Horticulture and Cottage
Gardener, September 1871
Lyell, James C., Pigeon-Keeping for Amateurs, London 1892.
Machin, F., Gems of the Orient, Birmingham 1919.
Sell, Axel, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic
Pigeon, Achim 2012.
Sell, Axel, Taubenrassen, Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften.
Faszination Tauben über die Jahrhunderte, Achim 2009.
Sell, Axel, Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer
Gestaltung, Achim 2019.
Wright, Lewis, Practical Pigeon Keeper, London, Paris & Melbourne