In 2018

A magnificent galvanised steel sculpture of the Craven Heifer spent today [Friday 13 April] with some of the most iconic sculptures in the world at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) to celebrate the 160thGreat Yorkshire Show this summer.

Show organisers the Yorkshire Agricultural Society commissioned renowned Whitby-based 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.

Weighing more than half a tonne and standing at 6ft tall, the GYSheifer sculpturewas located next to YSP’s ‘Walk of Art’ by the main visitor centre where more than 1,500visitors were able to view the enormous steel sculpture on the last day of the Easter school holidays.

The GYSheifer was unveiled earlier this week at the Craven Heifer’s birthplace at the Bolton Abbey Estate by Duke and Duchess Devonshire and the Show Director Charles Mills. Tickets are now on sale for the show which takes place from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 July.

The GYSheifer will be popping up at locations across Yorkshire to promote England’s biggest and best agricultural show before taking up position at the Great Yorkshire Showground ready for the event.

Bill Cowling, Great Yorkshire Show President,said: “It’s terrific to bring the GYSheifer to the world-famous Yorkshire Sculpture Park, what a way to start her journey around Yorkshire! It was seven years ago that the YSP brought two important pieces of sculpture to the President’s Lawn at the Great Yorkshire Show so this a fantastic way of starting celebrations for our 160th.”


Nina Rogers, Head of Marketing & PR at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, said: “We’re delighted that the Great Yorkshire Show have chosen to celebrate their 160th year with a monumental sculpture, highlighting not only Yorkshire’s significant agricultural past but also the county’s unique sculpture heritage. As Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of the best places in the world to see sculpture this makes us a perfect stop for the GYSheifer during its tour of Yorkshire.”

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.

Emma Stothard, sculptor, said: “Today is very special to me as the YSP is the place that first inspired me to be a sculptor when I first visited as a 16-year-old. I then went on to do a post grad course in art and design at Bretton Hall at the YSP and driving through this beautiful park on the way to my course was so inspiring to me when I was training to be an art teacher. Little did I know back then that my work would one day be exhibited here, it really is a dream come true.”

The Craven Heifer was born and bred in Bolton Abbey in the early 1800s. She was so large that a special door twice as wide as the norm had to be built to get her in and out of the cow shed. This doorway can still be seen on the Bolton Abbey Estate to this day.

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; including the UK Beef Shorthorn Championships the British Simmental Society Show and the National Charolais Show.

The GYSheifer will appear next at Malton Food Lovers Festival on Saturday 26 May and travel around the region until her final visit to Our Cow Molly Farm Shop in Sheffield on Sunday 10 June. The public are encouraged to post their selfies with #GYSheifer on Twitter. The best picture from each location will win a family ticket (2 adults & 3 children) worth £75 on the door, £65 in advance.

Here is where you can see the GYSheifer:

SATURDAY MAY 26:MALTON FOOD LOVERS FESTIVAL.The GYSheifer will tower over thousands of visitors on Newgate on the first day of Malton Food Festival which attracts 30,000 visitors over two days. Malton was the last place to host the Great Yorkshire Show in 1950 before the permanent showground was bought in Harrogate where it resides to this day.

THURSDAY MAY 31: YUMMY YORKSHIRE, HUDDERSFIELDwill hold a special event to celebrate the visit from the GYSheifer. This family dairy farm in the heart of the Pennine Yorkshire countryside, has 120 cows and has diversified to supply the onsite coffee shop, restaurant and ice cream parlour as well as fresh milk dispenser.   Yummy Yorkshire also supply Fodder with their wonderful ice cream.  Expect a fun filled family day to celebrate the visit from the GYSheifer!

SATURDAY JUNE 2: WOLD TOP BREWERY, DRIFFIELDThe GYSheifer sculpture goes to Wold Top brewery for its annual open weekend which raises money for National Garden Scheme charities. The brewery is celebrating its 15th anniversary and will have a 160th Great Yorkshire Show beer on sale for the weekend only. Wold Top was supported with a grant from Yorkshire Agricultural Society when it opened and has ales sold in Fodder.

SUNDAY JUNE 10:OUR COW MOLLY FARM SHOP, SHEFFIELD.The only dairy farm left in Sheffield which produces and bottles its own milk, delivering to businesses in the city including Co-op, Morrisons and Sheffield University. The farm shop supplies milk to the Great Yorkshire Show Cookery Theatre and will welcome over 2,000 visitors to its Open Farm Sunday where the GYSheifer will stay for the day.

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