National Recording Project

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

Coventry Boy

Summary

Type Statue

     Bronze statue on an octagonal plinth bearing an inscription on a plaque. A figure of a boy stood with his left hand holding a scroll aloft and his right hand resting a spanner on a diminutive factory. The scroll is a traditional symbol of unknown birth. Whilst his left foot is bare on his right foot is a shoe, whilst one sleeve is rolled up and the other is fastened with a cuff-link. There is a discrepancy between the Modern simplicity with which the boy, especially his face, is depicted and the naturalism with which the still life details and architecture are represented.
     In 1988 the statue was the focus of a land tussle between the Polytechnic and the Council.(1) A Citizen reader suggested that the work was wrongly sited, noting that the inscription could no longer be seen.(2) In October 1965 Coventry Boy Foundation, an anonymous group of local benefactors, offered to present the city with a statue of a Coventry boy, to symbolise the contribution of the city's boys to Coventry's development. The statue was to be a scaled up version of a silver statuette that the foundation had previously given to the Mayor. Bentham modelled his sculpture on a sketch by a former Coventry Art School student, Reg Rudge, with the imagery devised by the Coventry Boy Foundation. Bentham is primarily an architectural sculptor who was recommended for this commission by the Morris Singer Foundry who later cast the work.
     The statue represents the technical and craft skills embodied in modern Coventry.

Inscriptions

(raised lettering on bronze plaque on plinth): 'COVENTRY BOY / THIS BOY HAS NO NAME / BUT REPRESENTS ALL BOYS OF / ALL TIME WHO ARE PROUD TO / BELONG HERE REACHING OUT AS / ALWAYS FROM ROUGH SPUN TO CLOSE / WEAVE FOR FAMILY AND FOR CITY.' (foundry mark at base of bronze): 'MORRIS / SINGER /FOUNDERS / LONDON'

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Bentham, Philip Artist
Singer Morris Foundry, None Foundry

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
statue bronze 205cm high x 100cm wide x 83cm deep
plinth sandstone 75cm high x 119cm wide x 98cm deep

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMcvCVxx013 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Bird guano
  • Biological growth
Structural condition
  • None
Vandalism
  • None
Road Priory Street
Precise location opposite cathedral
A-Z ref 116 B4
OS ref SP337790
Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1966
Unveiling details None
Commissioned by Coventry Boy Foundation
Duty of care Coventry City Council
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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