‘The Enfolding’ by Jean Parker originally stood in Smithford Way before being relocated to make way for the news West Orchard shopping centre. It is now in the area outside the glass wing at the front of the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum on Bayley Lane.
The unavailing of the statue in its original location by the Lord Mayor Councillor Bill McKernan and the artist J. Parker.
Jean Parker has a background in teaching and has a family with four children. It was not until mid-life that she started studying and became a mature student for four years at Coventry University Art College. She later completed a Master of Arts degree. She works in stone, clay and bronze and her themes are universal – religion, psychology and personal relationships. A few of her commissions deals with grief and loss. Jean works closely with the people involved in the sculpture, going through a discussion process leading to a form that conveys a ‘feeling’ rather than depicting a defined image.
The sculpture was damaged by vandals in 2011. According to the Coventry Telegraph – “A statue which has stood proudly in Coventry for 25 years as a symbol of love, comfort and peace has been smashed to bits by mindless vandals. The senseless attack on ‘The Enfolding’, a stone carving of a mother and child embracing, happened at about midnight on Monday. Three culprits sent the 6ft sculpture, which was carved from blocks of Bath stone, toppling off its plinth near the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, in Jordan Well. Coventry sculptor Jean Parker, who created the work in 1986 when she was studying as a mature art student, said she was “deeply sad.” The 75-year-old, from Brays Close in Brinklow, said “The wind has been knocked out of my sails.”
The sculpture was repaired and put back in place but one of the two plaques on the base has been stolen. Unfortunately it was the plaque that gave the name of the work and the artist. The remaining plaque explains that the artwork was moved to this location in 1990 as part of the former Peace Garden which is no longer there . It was opened by the Queen Mother on 14th November 1990.
Jean Parker’s work can be seen in other parts of Coventry, including ‘St. Osberg’ statue in St. Osberg’s Junior School, Coundon.
The photograph below is ‘In the Stillness’ which is sited at the Warwick University.
The memorial shown in the photograph below is to Amandeep Gill and is located in the front garden of King Henry VIII School in Warwick Road. Amandeep was a sixth form student who died in 2005. Jean worked closely with the students to produce this memorial “you were a sun that brightened our lives and you will continue to shine in our thoughts”. This was the students’ message that they wanted alongside this stone with a bright gold star.
Sadly Jean passed away on 23rd April 2017. There is an obituary here.