George Wagstaffe’s sculpture The Phoenix stands in Hertford Street near Dresden Place.
Wagstaffe is an English sculptor born in 1939 in Coventry and is still based here. He grew up surrounded by the destruction and devastation of war and also witnessed the city’s reconstruction after the war ended. He is predominantly known for his iconic pieces of public art commissioned during the redevelopment of Coventry City Centre.
The Phoenix, created in 1962, is his take on the Greek myth of an immortal bird that periodically regenerates or is otherwise born again. In Coventry’s coat of arms, it is shown as a bird arising from the flames.
Wagstaffe’s Phoenix is a young person representing the city and its people rising from the ashes of the burnt and bombed city.
George Wagstaffe also created the modern replica of Coventry Cross. He is currently a visiting lecturer in the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick.