For many years, a gaggle of gargoyles presided over the Len Werry building that housed the Calgary Herald. Rebuilding and renovations saw them removed from the building, and some were sold off to history and art buffs or former employees, while others were put away for storage to be re-used in the future. Some, according to an article in the paper, are ‘missing’ or perhaps their ownership was never properly recorded.
“The creatures were among the last works of the famous Royal Doulton artist Mark V. Marshall, who was commissioned by Southam Ltd. in 1914 to design and sculpt hundreds of decorative figures for the original Calgary Herald building,” the article explains.
Herald Gargoyle on eBay for $4500
Some of the most coveted gargoyles were likenesses of Herald employees and featured intricately sculpted caricatures, as seen in a photo from the Glenbow archives.
Now, one of the Herald gargoyles is said to be for sale on eBay. It’s not clear if it’s a significant sculpture, made by Marshall, or one of the less expensive ones that was sold off, reportedly for as little as $20. Either way, this piece of sculpture is listed for a whopping $4500, though it states a ‘best offer’ option is available. (The blog Architrivia has some photos which also include a similar likeness to the monkey.)
The gargoyle being offered for sale is a monkey and has the letters ‘ZM 37″ etched into the side. It’s described in the listing page as rare and original.
“An original antique monkey gargoyle hand sculpted in 1911-1912 by Mark V. Marshall of England’s Royal Doulton, a famous ceramic and pottery company no longer in operation. These were some of the last creations by Mark V. Marshall and were specially crafted for the old Calgary Herald building on the corner of 1st street and 7th ave SW before it was torn down in the 70’s for what now stands the Len Werry building. Some of the gargoyles were auctioned off and are now owned by private collectors. Many were donated to the Glenbow Museum. Rare piece of Calgary history. It’s about 2 feet long and 1 foot thick. Weighing about 50 pounds.”
If this is one of the pieces of sculpture that’s been missing all this time, then perhaps the high price tag is worth it to recover a piece of Calgary history. If it’s one of the hundreds of other figures that were sold off for a song, then it would appear someone hopes their value has increased substantially. Herald gargoyles have turned up on eBay before, as described in an article in Avenue Magazine, some also selling for thousands.
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