Public art of the bovine variety: The GWH Cow Sculpture

Cow sculpture at Great Western  Hospital
Cow sculpture at Great Western Hospital

Whenever I see the GWH cow sculpture it makes me smile and think of one of my favourite Ogden Nash poems:

Two cows, mildly mooing:
No bull; nothing doing’

Which, if you think about it, is a masterclass in understatement. As is:

‘The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other milk’


Date of Installation : 1987
Material : Welded Steel

Anyway, I just like that it’s there. Though why a cow exactly? Any particular reason for that, do we know? What I DO know is that it was created in 1987 by Tom Gleeson – the same hand that welded the gorilla that now lives in Queen’s Park.

From Swindon History blogspot: ‘The long time resident gorilla took up his present position in 1994. The welded steel sculpture by Tom Gleeson was purchased by the Borough following an exhibition in the Theatre Square in the mid 1980s.

19/07/2013: UPDATE:

Okay. We might not  know why a cow rather than any other animal. But we do now know, thanks to a comment on the blog that it used to be at PMH. In an internal courtyard/garden as I remember. It got moved from there when the GWH opened. I don’t remember exactly how long it had been there. Only that it appeared some time between 1983 and 1990 (dates I worked at PMH).

And the commentee has kindly provided a link to the Swindon flicker collection showing the cow in its original home: and also:

Thank you so much for that. Brilliant!

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