Artefact of the month - September 2007
Oil painting of Guy the gorilla, by William Timym. c1980
The well known bronze statue of Guy the gorilla by William Timym is one of the most popular sculptures in ZSL London Zoo. A recent feature in Time Out magazine listed the sculpture as number one in the list of the ‘Big smoke’s top ten animal statues’.
The sculpture is currently the centrepiece of Barclay Court. It was unveiled at London Zoo by Lord Zuckerman, the then President of the Zoological Society of London, on 10 November 1982. The sculpture shows the gorilla on all fours, his knuckles to the ground and his head turned to the right. The huge bronze sculpture weighs 3/4 of a ton.
William Timym (1902-1990) had been a great admirer of Guy and as well as the sculpture, a large, stunning, colourful oil painting of Guy can be found hanging in ZSL Library. This is this featured artefact for September. The painting hangs in the Reading Room looking over Library visitors.
Guy was a very famous inhabitant of London Zoo from 1947-1978. On Guy Fawkes day in 1947 a small gorilla arrived in London Zoo. He was 18 months old. At first he would only respond to French as he had spent the previous 6 months in the Zoo in Paris. Guy became one of the Zoo's best-loved characters. He was very gentle and would pick up the sparrows in his cage and look at them before releasing them unharmed.
The Michael Marks Trust provided funding for the cataloguing of the artworks in ZSL's collections. An online catalogue to the artworks can be searched from the above link, Use the `Search artworks’ button on the sidebar. Please note that some artworks are catalogued as collections, not individually.
ZSL Library is open weekdays 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. If you are a member of ZSL, please bring your ZSL membership card when visiting the Library. If you are not a member you will need to show proof of address.