Guy the Gorilla (1946-78) was one of London Zoo’s most popular residents.
Named after Guy Fawkes – he was exchanged from Paris Zoo with a tiger on Bonfire Night in 1947 – the lowland gorilla attracted some three million visitors a year by the late 1950s (less than half that number visit the zoo today).
Such was his fame that cricketer Ian Botham, England’s tall and brawny allrounder, was nicknamed ‘Guy the Gorilla’.
Despite his morose and intimidating appearance, Guy had a gentle disposition and was observed on occasion carefully examining small birds that flew into his cage before letting them go.
‘Kitchen Sink’ artist John Bratby (1928-92) developed an interest in the brooding primate and made several portraits of him. This 9¾ x 14in (25 x 35cm) black pencil on paper showing Guy in an energetic mood is priced at £1400 (+ARR) from Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts.