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Massey Ferguson Sculpture comes to Coventry

‘Daniel Massey Bronze’ is tribute to 75 years of the combine harvester which revolutionised farming throughout the world.

Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson's Director Marketing Services and Public Relations - Europe/Africa/Middle East (EAME),visited Coventry's Herbert Museum and Art Gallery on the 3rd June to proudly hand over The Daniel Massey Bronze Sculpture as part of the “Tractors, Factory to Field Exhibition” being held at the Coventry Transport Museum.

The sculpture was proudly received by Gary Hall, Chief Executive for Culture Coventry and is will be exhibited at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery 1 June to 25 September 2016

The sculpture, by John Sherlock OBE ARUA, is a dramatic narrative piece telling the story of a key development in agricultural machinery which went on to revolutionise grain harvesting around the world. The piece was commissioned in 2013 to mark the 75th anniversary of the launch of the MH-20 self-propelled combine harvester developed by harvesting experts Massey-Harris, forerunners of today’s Massey Ferguson.

The artwork features a 1.4m portrait in bronze of Daniel Massey (1798 -1856) the founder of the Massey side of the business which eventually joined forces with the Harris farm machinery firm in 1891. Daniel is depicted as a blacksmith in 1847 in Newcastle, Ontario, Canada where he first began production of farm implements. Representing the soil and the metal, he is shown with scythe and rake in hand and an anvil at his side gazing almost 100 years into the future. His vision is the 1938 MH-20, the world’s first commercially-successful self-propelled combine harvester, a machine born from his legacy of harvesting equipment expertise. The model of the combine is in 1/25th scale fashioned in bronze and sheet metal.

The M-H 20 SP combine is ranked as among the most important advances in farm machinery. Combining the crop cutting and threshing operations, it ushered in a harvesting revolution - for the first time separating the tractor from the trailed reaper machines. Providing large-area farmers with huge gains in productivity and performance, the machine not only made a massive leap forward in farm mechanisation but also introduced the term ‘combine harvester’.

“The inspiration of Massey-Harris lives on in the innovative spirit and success of Massey Ferguson today. We were determined to produce a symbol which would have enduring significance beyond the 75th anniversary date and which could be enjoyed for years to come. We are thrilled that it is to be displayed in Coventry” remarks Campbell Scott.

For John Sherlock, the sculpture was a challenging creative and technical work and took almost two years to complete. Other symbols woven into the artwork include the Massey Harris Company’s first ever factory in Canada, and its first dedicated combine harvester factory in Europe at Kilmarnock, Scotland. This early Canadian-Scottish link is underpinned with illustrations of the Maple Leaf and Thistle entwined in panels around the edge. A Shamrock is also included on these panels, a reference to the brilliant inventor Harry Ferguson from Northern Ireland, widely acknowledged as the ‘father of the modern farm tractor’ and another of the founding names of the Massey Ferguson brand. Harry Ferguson established a tractor factory in Coventry in 1946 and merged with Massey-Harris in 1953 to form Massey-Harris Ferguson. The name was changed to Massey Ferguson in 1958.

Look out for other events running alongside the Coventry Transport Museum’s ‘Tractors – from factory to field’ exhibition including ‘Fields of Joy’, a musical celebration of the tractor around the world, from South Asia and beyond (12 June) and ‘70 Tractors for 70 Years’, a spectacular parade of Massey Ferguson tractors through the city to Millennium Place outside the Coventry Transport Museum (30 July 2016).