A magnificent galvanised steel sculpture of the Craven Heifer has been created by a Whitby-based sculptor to celebrate the 160th Great Yorkshire Show this summer.
Show organisers the Yorkshire Agricultural Society commissioned renowned Whitby sculptor Emma Stothard to recreate the Craven Heifer who became a national phenomenon in the 1800s.
People would pay to see the heifer who was put on show on her way to Smithfield Market, London, and remains the largest heifer ever shown in England and lived in the same era as the first show.
Emma Stothard, sculptor, said: “This has been one of my most ambitious projects to date, requiring hours of research with the help of Margaret Chapman - an expert in cattle.
“We’ve poured over many paintings and different documents charting the Craven Heifer’s size. We wanted the GYSheifer to be as lifelike as possible and it’s been exciting to bring the Craven Heifer back to life for everyone to get an idea of how big she really was.”
Weighing more than half a tonne and standing at 6 ft tall, the GYSheifer sculpture was launched from the Craven Heifer’s birthplace at the Bolton Abbey Estate by the Duke of Devonshire and the Show Director Charles Mills.
The GYSheifer then travelled nearly 50 miles aboard a specially designed truck to Fulford, York where she was met by police motorcyclists and escorted into Imphal Barracks, adjacent to where the very first Great Yorkshire Show was held in the Barrack Yard of the 5th Dragoons in 1838.
There she was met by military, police, the Great Yorkshire Show team and local school children in front of the original Coat of Arms of the 5th Dragoon Guards, the only historic remains of the Barrack Yard.
The GYSheifer is a one off, bespoke, life-size sculpture in steel which stands 6ft high, 4ft wide and 11ft long.
She was created at sculptor Emma’s Whitby studio before being galvanised in Bradford and powder coated in Middlesbrough.
She was then attached to a specially designed Great Yorkshire Show truck by HACS construction services in Ripley - ready for her journey.
The sculpture project has been months in the planning and involved research with experts at Bolton Abbey Estate and the Great Yorkshire’s Chief Cattle Steward Margaret Chapman, whose family have been part of the show for more than 100 years, to ensure the sculpture’s authenticity.
The Craven Heifer was a Shorthorn breed and this year will be the first time that the Great Yorkshire Show will host three national cattle breed shows.