National Recording Project

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

Swan of Kleve

Summary

Type Sculpture

     A plain cylindrical column with a small and simple base and top. The base stands on a circular convex area of cobbles in which the small bronze plaque is set. The swan stands facing the river, one foot raised to support a shield with the arms of Kleve shown in low relief (eight arrows radiating out from the centre). The swan's neck arches backwards, then forwards as its beak points out across the river. Its wings stretch upwards and outwards.
     About six years ago the citizens of Kleve presented a statue of a swan to Worcester. It was mounted on a column one metre tall on the towpath (called Kleve Way) on the east side of the river Severn. After only a few months the swan was stolen. It seems possible that the statue was stolen in the belief that it was made of bronze: the alloy would actually be worthless if melted down. Vandalism was also possible, so divers searched in the river - without success. In 2000 a private citizen of Worcester commissioned a replacement for the swan from the same sculptor, this time with very much stronger fixings. The stonemasons of Worcester Cathedral made a second section for the column which is now two metres high. They fixed the swan in place with three stainless steel rods, one 1m and two 3m long, using the methods which are employed to fix the Cathedral pinnacles. This time the bird will not easily be toppled. A party from Kleve visits Worcester each year to take part in the Christmas Fayre (sic). In 2000 the sculptor came too, carrying the swan in the back of his car. The site was under water, so the swan was mounted on a desk placed in front of the Guildhall and draped with German and British flags for a ceremonious handover on 30 November 2000. The actual installation was done in early January 2001 when the flood waters had gone down.
     The swan is the symbol of the town of Kleve in Germany, one of the two towns twinned with Worcester (the other is in France).

Inscriptions

On the same bronze plaque as the name of the artist: Ein Gescenk des Partnerchaftes-/vereins under der Klever Burger an/die Stadt Worcester Bronze plastik Dieter von Levetzow

Contributor details

Contributor Role
von Levetzow, Dieter Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Column Stone 2.04m high, 45cm diameter
Swan Bronze alloy, natural patina, dark bronze colour 50cm high, wingtip to wingtip measurement 1.2m approx.
Plaque Metal, bronze colour 20cm x 7cm

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WOwoWOmg061 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
Structural condition
  • Other
Vandalism
  • None
Road Kleve Way
Precise location On the towpath (Kleve Way) below the Old Palace
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO848544
Date of design 2000
Year of unveiling 2001
Unveiling details 2001
Commissioned by a private citizen of Worcester
Duty of care City of Worcester
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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