‘Mother and Children’ by Gary Galpin
Just right of the main entrance to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum on Bayley Lane are two sculptures; the first one is called ‘Mother and Children’ by Gary Galpin. It is carved out of Bath stone and the artist’s chisel marks are still very visible. It is not fully detailed but you get the impression of a central mother figure with children both in front and around her. The Mother figure is holding one of the small child’s hands who is reaching up to the mother with one hand but is holding hands with the other child as they encircle her. The sculpture was first displayed in Smithford Way in 1986 but moved to the ‘Peace garden’, Bayley Lane, when West Orchard shopping centre was being built in 1990. It was moved again when the new extension to the ‘Herbert Art Gallery & Museum’ was built in 2004.
From moquette (small model) to worked up full size block.
Gary the artist in front of his blocks, ready to start.
Dr. Tim Threlfall (Gary’s tutor) with the blocks marked up with the ‘Mother and Children’ design drawn on them.
This sculpture was one of four sculptures the City of Coventry acquired through a competition they ran as part of ‘Industry Year 1986’. The others were ‘The Enfolding’ by Jean Parker (which is sited close by outside the Herbert’s other entrance) ‘The Worker’ by Ian Randell and ‘Steel Horse’ by Simon Evans (they were both on display near the Railway station but are at present in storage). It was reported that all four artists were insulted by the original prize money of a £25 book tokens for each artist. The Council had said it was an opportunity for the artist to have their work on public display in the city, they did in the end give each artist £300 towards material costs and labour. All four artists had been encouraged by their sculpture tutor Dr. Tim Threlfall to enter the competition. He was hoping that it could have been a ongoing one off prize every year for the students which would benefit both the artist and the city, who would get a steady supply of public art and a pick of the best at each year’s final term exhibition.
These days Gary Galpin mainly climbs and treks over rocks rather than carving them. He is a co-founder and now works and plays at Chase Trails, an outward bound type cycling and tracking adventures experience.