Coachlines - December 2020

21.12.20 Liveryman Martin Derrick

60 truly absorbing minutes with Gerry Judah

Our Zoom meeting with the internationally-renowned sculptor and artist Gerry Judah – part of the ’60 Minutes With’ series introduced by the Master as some consolation for the cancellation of most of our actual Livery events this year – was absorbing, educational, amusing and inspirational in equal measures.

Gerry talked us through his early days in India, then how he and his family descended from Baghdadi jews moved to England when he was 10 where he went to school and then attended first Goldsmith’s Art School and then the Slade.

He started working on massive sculptures and installation, initially constructed from the mass of post-war scrap timber and other materials from reconstructed buildings.

As his reputation grew, so did both the number and size of his commissions – from the annual sculptures erected outside Goodwood House for each year’s Festival of Speed, to the massive white crosses in St Paul’s Cathedral which remind us of the horrors of the First World War, through a harrowing exhibit of the unspeakable treatment of the inmates of the Auschwitz Birkenhau death camp and on to more peaceful works such as his delicate stairway on the South Bank in London and his very latest work in Dallas Texas, Drift 2020.

A lively Q&A session followed Gerry’s presentation, which elicited the magnificent comment on the scale of his works: “I don’t get out of bed for less than 20 metres”.

The unique combination of Gerry Judah’s dazzling talent, gentle humour and astonishing humility made for an unforgettable evening for those who attended – including Masters from four other Livery companies. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill for those who failed to sign up for this unique event: “Never was so much missed by so many in one short hour”.