The Jersey Cattle Project

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This eye-catching sculpture of a group of Jersey cattle was commissioned to be sited at West’s Centre, St. Helier, the capital of the Channel Island, Jersey.

The group is cast in bronze for a prominent site in the town centre in celebration of the world famous cattle breed. There are four lifesize bronze cattle around a drinking trough and was designed to act as a historical record of the physical form of the Island Jersey breed.

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The Year of the Jersey project was originally conceived by Aiden Smith, a resident of the Island. Artist John McKenna is a sculptor who leads the group known as “Art for Architecture”, an informal association of artists, designers and craftsmen who work together in a wide range of media on public art commissions.

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This enables them to take on major public works and use a wide variety of skills to fulfil their commissions. John’s own work includes portraits and small private commissions as well as large works of public art.

John admitted that he knew little about the breed prior to starting this project. By the end of his research he felt a new respect for the Jersey and how it had been bred to perfection. Aiden Smith had enlisted a group of local people to form a committee for the project and John McKenna was selected as the ideal artist for the commission.

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£170,000 was raised by generous public subscription to pay for the sculpture and John spent many months working on the Island. He started by modelling clay originals of the animals, moving from farm to farm to study the best examples of the breed.

He also consulted with International Jersey Cattle as the work progressed before the finished clay models were moulded and cast in bronze at the foundry. The bronze cattle sculpture was finally installed in 2001 and unveiled on the 29th September.

The sculpture has withstood the frequent close attention of young children and has been visited by Her Majesty The Queen, herself a keen breeder of the breed on her own farm at Windsor.

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John also created the half life-size figures of Echo & Narcissus, purchased for permanent exhibition at Gretna Green Museum, Scotland. John’s Bronze sculpture figures can be purchased from the High St. Gallery, Arteries Gallery, Glasgow or from the A4A studio bronze foundry. Further details at statues.co.uk.

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