National Recording Project

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

Sir Guy and the Dun Cow

Summary

Type Statue

     Sir Guy is depicted in chain mail and sheet armour, his sword raised above his head. The dun cow prances in front of him, its rolling eye looks towards the viewer. In the background is the small figure of Phelice, the daughter of the Earl of Warwick, who was rescued by Guy. It is a light hearted treatment of the subject, with the figures given a lively cartoon like quality.
     The sculpture was originally attached to the wall at the top of the steps leading from the south west side of the precinct to its upper level. As the upper walkways were little used, the sculpture was not well known. It has recently been resited as part of a face-lift, that includes floodlighting and landscaping, from Broadgate House to Shelton Square.(2) Alma Ramsay was commissioned by the council Planning and Redevelopment Committee to make the sculpture as part of the scheme evolved by the City Architect Donald Gibson, to have works of art associated with the new Broadgate house. Along with Tennant's figures on the clock on the front of Broadgate House, this work provides an effective contrast with the other art works, the more serious 'People of Coventry' sculpture and the 'Martyrs Mosaic'. (Manual ref. WMcvCVxx127).
     The relief depicts the legend of the slaying of the monstrous Dun Cow by Guy of Warwick. Guy of Warwick was son of the steward to the Earl of Warwick. When he was 16 he fell in love with the Earl's only daughter Felice, due to his low birth she stated that she would only marry him if he could prove his valour. Guy set out for Europe, killing the Dun Cow which was ravaging Dunsmore Heath, and slew a boar at Slough. On reaching Europe he fought the Saracens at Constantinople, on his return to England he killed a dragon for Aethelstan of York. These deeds convinced Felice of his bravery and she consented to marry him. On the death of the Earl shortly after their marriage he inherited the Earldom.

Inscriptions

On scroll below figures and partially illegible: 'GUY OF WARWICK, A LEGENDARY HERO OF WARWICKSHIRE, IS RENOWNED FOR HIS VALOUR IN RESCUING / PHELICE DAUGTHER OF . . . AFTER A DESPERATE ENCOUNTER / GUY SLEW THE MONSTER . . .'

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Ramsey, Alma Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Sculpture Stone mix covered in paint 200cm high x 250cm wide

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMcvCVxx103 BM
General condition Fair
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
  • Previous treatments
Structural condition
  • None
Vandalism
  • None
Road Shelton Square
Precise location Above the pavement between Shelton Square and Bull Yard in the precinct
A-Z ref 116 C5
OS ref SP333790
Date of design 1952
Year of unveiling 1952
Unveiling details March 1952
Commissioned by Coventry Planning and Redevelopment Committee
Duty of care None
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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