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Bertie - the Biggest Rocking Horse in the World

01/05/2010 As traditional toys go, rocking horses have remained one of the most iconic, with their enduring presence continuing until the present day. Modern variants on the rocking horse abound, including rocking giraffes and rocking snails.

Perhaps the strangest rocking horse of all was unveiled last month, however. A traditional toy with a twist; fit for the child of a giant - the biggest rocking horse in the world.

The incredible toy is 12 feet long and 16 feet tall, and was created by craftsman Tony Dew of Rocking Horse Shop for a contemporary art exhibition at Tatton Park in Cheshire.

A request to make a giant example of the classic toy for the exhibition was made by leading sculptor Marcia Farquhar.

Mr Dew, the founder of the Rocking Horse Shop in Fangfoss, near York carved the enormous model from plywood in only six weeks.

He named his creation "Big Bertie" after modelling the massive horse - over twice the size of any real-life Grand National winner - on a retired eventing horse which lives in stables next door to the shop. However, the real Bertie is only five-and-a-half feet high.

"I was intrigued and excited by the challenge of the project and quickly got to work on a design," Mr Dew told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I have been involved with rocking horses for 35 years now, but this, at 4.9 metres long by 3.65 metres high is the biggest we have undertaken. It is considerably larger than life size and is, as far as we know, the largest hand carved rocking horse in the world. It really was something to take on but I am extremely pleased with the end result."

The store's managing director Jane Cook said: "We were delighted to have the opportunity to make such an unusual rocking horse for Marcia and Tatton Park Biennial 2010. Marcia described the vision she had in mind and we were able to translate this into a design that would make this a reality."

"Bertie is a beautiful horse who is owned by a local girl and resides in stables right next to the shop. She used to do eventing with him but he has retired now. He has proved to be the perfect inspiration."

"We were worried when he saw it he might be spooked by it and he was certainly alarmed - I don't think he could believe what he was seeing," Ms Cook told the newspaper.

"He's quite highly strung."

Ms Farquhar told the Telegraph that the idea developed "after seeing a little black rocking horse under a Christmas tree on a site visit to Tatton Park. While I had my mind set on doing something with the grounds and surrounds, it was the horse in the house which caught my eye."

"I wanted to bring the image, with all its associations, outside, and I wanted to bring it back to its natural scale, its full-grown adult scale. I titled the work after something my grandmother reportedly used to suddenly say whenever she wished to put a stop to unseemly gossip at her table: 'The Horse is a Noble Animal'."

 


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