Cotton Woolly Rhino

Medium: Rhino stuffed soft toy (skinned and unstuffed), invisible thread, clear acrylic skeletal support

Dimensions: 790w x 320d x 380h mm (Rhino) 300w x 200d x 260h mm (Rhino Beetle)

Cabinet: 1780w x 570d x 910h mm

Date: 2011


Ceretotherium Cottoni – Cotton (Woolly) Rhino

On finding and acquiring a baby rhino museum case at R.G Scott’s Ice Factory in Margate I decided I would pursue the rhino idea for the show ‘Red List’. This led me to the Powell-Cotton Museum in Birchington, where I discovered the Northern or Cotton’s White, wide square lipped rhino; a species of rhinoceros identified by and bearing the Powell-Cotton name: Ceratotherium Cottoni. Sadly, due to poaching, it has disappeared from the wild leaving just seven remaining in captivity.

With the ‘Cotton’ association it seemed obvious that I should make the rhino using the cotton woolly stuffing from a skinned toy rhino. Shed, the skin is transformed into a rhinoceros beetle.

The cotton woolly rhino contemplates its detached skin, which has been transformed into a rhinoceros beetle. The beetle, looking up at the rhino, sees just a cloud: transforming – disappearing…. The Northern White is fading away.

As a subfamily of the Scarab the rhino beetle could be interpreted as a symbol of rebirth or representative of the restoration of life.

Photo: Claire Hazelton

Photo: Claire Hazelton


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