The Osborne bull (in Spanish: Toro de Osborne) is a 14-meter (46 ft) high black silhouetted image of a bull in semi-profile, and is regarded as the unofficial national symbol of Spain. The bull was created in 1956 by Manolo Prieto.
Nowadays the conservation of the bulls is handled by the family of Félix Tejada.
The Osborne sherry company erected large images of bulls starting in 1956 to advertise their ‘Brandy de Jerez’. The images were black advertising boards located near major roads throughout Spain. The original image was smaller and slightly different in design.
The current larger image was created to comply with a law that prohibited advertising within 150 meters of a road.
In 1994 a law was passed prohibiting all roadside advertising, and the bulls were, therefore, to be removed.
By this time the signs were nationally renowned, so although some campaigners wished them completely removed to fully comply with the intent of the law, public response resulted in the signs being retained, but completely blacked out to remove all reference to the original advertisers.
The Court eventually allowed these signs to remain on the grounds that they have become a part of the landscape and have “aesthetic or cultural significance”, thus turning the bulls into public domain images.
There are 91 Bulls spread around Spain – there is one overlooking Alenda Golf.
The image of the bull is now displayed in stickers, key rings and the like. Also, in sport events where a Spanish team or individual take part, the bull is embedded by supporters in the Flag of Spain in the manner of a coat of arms.