Champion White Park Bull, Ash Nik-Nak
The White Park – One of the oldest cattle breeds in the world
Sire: Dynevor Calibre. Dam: Ash Blueberry.
Male Breed Champion – Royal Bath & West Show 2005
Breed Champion – Royal Bath & West Show 2006
Champion [Any Other Breed, Native or Continental] – Devon Show 2008
Reserve Show Champion – Mid-Somerset Show 2009
The first time I glimpsed Nik-Nak over the heads of the crowd at the Devon County Show, I knew that he was something special. He had such presence! Like a white Cretan bull, sprung straight from some ancient Minoan frieze, he towered over his competition. I started taking photographs immediately – I simply had to sculpt this bull! It took me several days to track down his owner, Mr Mark Franklin, but eventually I did and a visit was arranged. The herd manager, Andrew Hill, was extremely kind and helpful and I was able to take all my reference photographs and measurements within a couple of hours. Nik-Nak stood without complaint, though I did get slightly nervous, whilst crouching beneath his, now foaming mouth, as the six foot six inch Andrew, with a twinkle in his eye, casually mentioned that Nik-Nak had once pinned him to a wall, puncturing his sternum!Read more...
Luckily I survived, to start the sculpture. After modelling his noble head; using soft wax, I slowly built up Nik-Nak’s impressive musculature. Concentrating on his powerful neck, chest and shoulders; then moving on to his hind quarters. Andrew had told me that Nik-Nak’s name derived from the impressive size of his, “Nik-Naks”, so I paid particular attention to their accuracy! I worked day and night to finish the sculpture.
Pangolin foundry produced a magnificent, glossy white, patina on the finished bronze, which makes this piece one of the stars of the British Champion Animals Collection.
White Park cattle are a truly ancient breed. References to cattle of White Park type are found as early as the 5th C in pre-Christian Irish epics. Several herds were enclosed within parks [hence the name] during the Middle Ages, including the ancient, wild, Chillingham Herd, to which the modern White Park is closely related. The White Park nearly became extinct during WW II, but due to concerted efforts by breeders and even the War Cabinet, it was saved. The White Park is a beef breed, white in colour with dark tips to nose, ears, feet and horns [which are long and sweeping]. Around the eye is also dark. They are slow to mature with considerable size variation, but impart excellent hybrid vigour when crossed with other breeds.