The Turra Coo – Charles Engebretsen – 2010 – Site – Place – Context – 2012

Charles Engebretsen was commissioned by Turriff Tourism Action Group to work with the community to create a work to commemorate the famous beast of Turriff the Turra Coo in Aberdeenshire.

He created a bronze cast of a cow and then treated the metal to create a white overcoat. The work is based on the original coo of 1913 when a local farmer refused to pay the national insurance stamp with the agreement of his workers. The Chancellor Lloyd George seized one of the farmer’s white Ayrshire-Southern cross cows to meet the debt but after it was taken to Aberdeen to be sold some of the other local farmers worked together to buy the cow and returned her to her owner.

The process was very challenging and required the artist to consult local farmers to create the most lifelike sculpture. Engebretsen used taxidermy and silicone moulding to create an effective mould for the bronze to be poured into. As part of the project Engebretsen also worked with local schools teaching them how to make wax moulds, animations and films based around the cow looking at hooves and the cow heads.


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