National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Mythical Beast


Type Sculpture

     Carved brick sculpture incorporating seating and planting. Information from Festival Park: 'The form of the beast has a number of inspirations; the magnificent Ohio Serpent Mounds, prehistoric mammals, the bone structure of ancient beasts and celtic dragon mythology, Gaudi in Barcelona, medieval gargoyles and the dragons on the cloisiers at Parc Margam also played a part. The shape of the spine was based on the spiral formed by the 'magic rectangle' used in Gothic architecture as a basis for the shape and layout of cathedrals.
     Mythical Beast was sponsored by Ibstock Bricks plc, Brunswick Contractors and Curtins Engineers. Information from Festival Park: 'Ibstock Bricks sponsored the entire first stage of this project, giving Gwen the run of their factory for 10 months, all the bricks to create the beast, and technical advice. Gwen carved and assembled the beast out of special wet bricks, then disassembled it, numbered each individual brick and fired them. The men at the factory treated 'Billy' as their own, handling every piece of him with care; when the bricks finally arrived on site, not one of the 30,000 pieces was missing. The second stage of the project, rebuilding the beast, was sponsored by Brunswick. Gwen and and her artist assistant, Alex Achurch, were joined by Brunswick's Idwal, Inkpen, Mansel and Brian. Idwal and the others had an immediate vision of what Gwen was aiming for and proceeded to reconstruct the beast from the numbered bricks without ever seeing a plan. The craftsmanship and dedication of the builders played a major part in the success of the project .. Gardens are the central theme of this piece. It was Gwen's intention ultimately to create a beast that was a garden, a structure that evoked a feeling of overwhelming presence of animal, nature, beauty and power.'
     A number of sculptures were commissioned for the Garden Festival of Wales in 1991/2 and some works remain on site.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Heeney, Gwen Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Mythical Beast Clay bricks 500cm high x 3500cm long

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
Structural condition
  • Other
  • Graffiti
Road A4046
Precise location On land surrounding Festival Park Factory Shopping Village
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO165076
Date of design 1991-92
Year of unveiling 1992
Unveiling details 1992
Commissioned by Garden Festival Wales
Duty of care Festival Park
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

‹‹ Back to search results