Osborne Bull – Guadalajara, Spain - Atlas Obscura
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Guadalajara, Spain

Osborne Bull

Originally used to sell brandy, the bull-shaped billboard became an iconic symbol of Spain. 

When driving along the roads of Spain, you’ll occasionally glimpse the shape of a massive black bull. The large silhouette was originally designed to advertise a brandy, but over the years it’s become an iconic symbol of Spain.

The Osborne sherry company, founded in 1772, began erecting large bull-shaped billboards in the 1950s to advertise its Brandy de Jerez. The black silhouettes were emblazoned with the name “Veterano” in bright red. The billboards are distributed throughout the Spanish landscape.

The Osborne bull, or Toro de Osborne, stands proudly alongside roads and on hilltops, cutting the horizon with its mighty shape. Despite the initial function, over time the bull has transcended the commercial brand and become a cultural symbol of Spain.

This design was created by Manolo Prieto, an artist who became general manager of the advertising company in 1956. In 1994, the general road regulations ordered the withdrawal of all billboards, but artists, politicians, and journalists fought to keep the bulls. That same year the Spanish Parliament declared the signs to be important icons of Spain’s cultural and artistic heritage.

There are currently about 90 or so Osborne bulls distributed irregularly around the country. The largest concentration is located around Jerez, where Osborne’s cellars are located. The rest are scattered throughout the Spanish geography.

Know Before You Go

The above coordinates and address point to an Osborne bull that stands above Highway A-2 in Guadalajara.