The Rocking Horse Shop have built an animal more than twice as big as any of the Grand National entrants for an art exhibition.
Craftsman Tony Dew has produced “Big Bertie”, which is based on the retired eventing horse ‘Bertie’, who lives in stables next door as the model.
After deciding to model the work on the 11-year-old animal, in just six weeks he has painstakingly carved the huge plywood structure.
The real Bertie, who stands five-and-a-half feet high, is dwarfed by his lookalike which is more than double his size.
The 62 year-old, who also founded the quaint shop in Fangfoss, near York, said: “I was intrigued and excited by the challenge of the project and quickly got to work on a design.
“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. I made it with laminated marine plywood with a varnished finish.2
He added: “It really was something to take on but I am extremely pleased with the end result.”
The shop were asked by eminent sculptor Marcia Farquhar to produce the stunning artwork for a huge contemporary art exhibition at Tatton Park in Cheshire.
Managing director Jane Cook, 45, added: 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. He’s quite highly strung.”
Big Bertie will be loaded onto a truck for his journey across the M62 to the exhibition.
Mrs Farquhar: “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’.”