E.T. Wickham On Bull Heading West
"Wickham’s only existing self-portrait, of himself riding a longhorn bull, also demonstrates his sense of humor. Undocumented, but remembered by Michael Dinsmore, who was a boy at the time, as being created soon after the York and Jackson works, the bull had electrified light bulbs in his eyes and a red light bulb under his raised tail. Louis Peddar, a neighbor who used to swim in Wickham’s pond as a boy, remembers seeing the bull’s red light bulb as he came around the curve in the road and approached the statues.
Presented as a self-portrait at its first public display, the work was unveiled by Wickham’s neighbor O’Neal Dinsmore. Not only were audience members surprised by the placement of light bulbs in the statue, but also by the larger-than-life testicles on the bull, which someone described as fitting “in a five gallon bucket.” Wickham’s bawdy sense of humor is remembered to this day. Never a practical joker and not a very out-going personality, Wickham did have his humorous side.The inscription on the statue’s base states: Headed to the Wild and Woley [sic] West, Remember Me Boys while I am Gone. Perhaps it was Wickham’s wish to go west, and references to his declaration that he was returning to pioneer days when he moved to his log cabin in 1952 may confirm this desire.
Past identification of the work by family members as representing Paul Bunyan seems unlikely, for Bunyan was a character of the north woods, not the “wild west.” Wickham’s other historical personages seem to have been so purposefully chosen that the selection of a fictional character for this sculpture seems out of character. Wickham made one other self-portrait that we know of, a bust that he placed atop his mailbox during the time he and his family resided in Robertson County.
The other inscription on the base, Do not touch or swing on statues, indicates that Wickham’s sculpture park was obviously being visited by the time this work was created." - quoted text is from the 2001 Customs House Museum Online Wickham Exhibit
(Click on image for larger view)
E. T. WICKHAM HEADED FOR THE WILD AND WOLEY WEST. REMEMBER ME BOYS WHILE I'M GONE.