Screen Print – Beauty and the Beast

Screenprint - 2011

Screenprint on canvas.

I have begun a series of paintings (screenprints) ready for my exhibition in the ‘Long Gallery’ (West Buckland School, Barnstaple, North Devon). The loose idea for these images is based around the title ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – the ‘beauty‘ will be a large ape. This will coincide with a workshop I am giving on how to create woodcuts.


Guy the Gorilla (May 30, 1946 – 1978) was a Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) which was London Zoo‘s famous resident, something of a celebrity in the 1960s–70s and was often profiled on kids TV shows and natural history productions. Guy the Gorilla was one of London Zoo’s best-loved animals.

He arrived at the zoo on 5 November 1947,  Guy Fawkes Night, hence his name. He was a tiny baby, weighing just 23 lb (10 kg) and holding a small tin hot-water bottle. Guy was the replacement for the zoo’s previous gorilla, Meng, who died in 1941. Guy was captured in the French Cameroons on behalf of Paris Zoo and was traded for a tiger from Calcutta Zoo. It was organized that London Zoo would have Guy. The Paris Zoo Director sent instructions to their game department in West Africa to find a suitable female to mate with him.

London sent a request to a variety of animal dealers and zoos worldwide to find a mate, and in 1969 the zoo was offered Lomie, a five year old female who had been living in nearby Chessington Zoo. She lived in the old Monkey House in London Zoo for a year before being introduced to Guy. When the new Ape and Monkey House, the Michael Sobell Pavilion, was opened in 1971, Guy and Lomie were finally introduced. However, after 25 years of isolation, it was too late; they never produced any offspring.

Lowland gorillas are the world’s largest primates. Males can weigh between 140 and 275 kg. His dimensions as silverback were measured in 1966 and 1971: he weighed 520 lb (240 kg), was 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) tall, and had an arm span of 9 ft (2.7 m). His upper arm had a circumference of 23.5 in (58 cm), his thighs 28 in (70 cm), and his neck 36 in (90 cm).

His appearance was fearsome, yet his nature was very gentle; when small birds flew into his cage, he reportedly lifted them up on his hands and examined them softly. This gentleness is said to have been a major part of his great popularity.

Guy died aged over 30 years, in 1978 of a heart attack during an operation on his infected teeth. By this time he had become an icon. Public awareness of animal behavior had been growing, thanks to the ever-improving natural history programmes on television, while studies of wild apes by scientists like Jane Goodall, Biruté Galdikas and Diane Fossey were changing the public’s attitude towards primates.

The Natural History Museum head taxidermist at the time, Arthur Hayward, was given the task of modelling and mounting Guy’s skin. After nearly nine months of work, the magnificent re-creation of Guy was put on display at the Natural History Museum in November 1982. Years later Guy was taken out of public display and moved into the scientific study collections. As of October 2006, Guy is on display in the ‘Weird and Wonderful section’ of the redeveloped Weston Park Museum, Sheffield.

In 1982 he was commemorated by a bronze statue by William Timym,  located near the main entrance by the Michael Sobell Pavilion for Monkeys and Apes, where Guy spent his final years.

Guy the Gorilla. (2011, February 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:37, April 3, 2011, from

London Zoo page to the memory of Guy

Printmaking Workshop:

Saturday 11th June 2011 – 10-1.30pm
Room: Print Room in the 150 Building
Tutor: Peter Bright

West Buckland School, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 0SX
Course Aims:
A hands on introduction to woodcuts and how to create a series of prints. Within the time frame it is hoped that each participating member will be able to create a finished image. The techniques shown will be simple ‘kitchen table’ processes that will be easy to replicate at home.
Read more about my work .. .
Equipment needed:
All materials are provided.
Additional costs: No additional costs.
Refreshments: Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.
Contact me for more details.
Location:West Buckland School, Barnstaple. As you turn onto the school site, take the left turning to the car park. The 150 building is located adjacent to the main car park, and the front door is at the far end of the building as you walk towards it.

Cost: £28.75. There is a 15% discount to current WBS parents and staff, and would ask that all course places are pre-booked.

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About peter

'Death by Sushi' Fish can kill me. When I was very small (maybe 3 or 4 years old) my grandfather, who lost the sight of one eye from a bullet fired by a German sniper (fortunately not a very good one) during the Battle of the Somme in World War 1, wiped my face with the corner of his apron, an apron he had used to wipe his filleting knife on. He was a grocery shopkeeper who specialized in wet fish.

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