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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Judith Bluck (1936–2011)

Sculptor born in London. Having completed an apprenticeship in engraving, she worked as a designer and painter before finding her métier as a sculptor in the late 1950s, working in different media, including bronze and brick. In Paris, in 1968, she won both bronze and silver medals from the Société des Artistes Français. Based near Malham, Yorkshire, she created numerous bronze animal sculptures including Sheep (Rochdale, 1978, and Milton Keynes, 1980); Small Work Horse (Sheffield Crucible Theatre, 1979, and Ealing Broadway, 1985) and Otters (The Lanes, Carlisle, and Newark, Nottinghamshire, 1989). Her 24-metre-long brick relief, The Legend of the Iron Gates (Sainsbury’s, Wilmslow, Cheshire, 1989), won the Royal Society of British Sculptors’ (RBS) Otto Beit Medal. Other commissions include St Francis of Assisi (Bristol, 1974; destroyed, 2008); The Marriage of Charles II (security doors reliefs, Crown Courts, Portsmouth); Crucible Fountain (Sheffield, 1979); Little Mesters Workshops (Sheffield, 1985); Jimmy Dyer: ‘The Fiddler’ (The Lanes, Carlisle, 1986); Natural Force II (Yorkshire Building Society, Bradford); and Boy on a Capstan (Whitehaven, Cumbria, 2000). A commission in brick for Hounds Hill shopping centre, Blackpool (1980), showing people bathing, was deemed politically incorrect and re-sited at the Pleasure Beach in 1999. From 1980, her assistant was Phillip Sayers. In 2006 she exhibited Mother and Child and Startled Doe at the Museum of North Craven Life, Settle, North Yorkshire. She became an Associate of the RBS in 1975 and a Fellow in 1978; she was also a member of both the Society of Portrait Sculptors and the Art Workers’ Guild. Examples of her work may be found in the collection of Liverpool College of Art and at Cheltenham Ladies College. Bluck died in Skipton on 7 January 2011.

Sources include: Conversation between Bluck and the author, 2009; emails from Jeremy Oddie, Head of Art, Oundle School, Northamptonshire, to the author, August 2015.

Bibliography: D.A. Cross, Public Sculpture of Lancashire and Cumbria, Liverpool, 2017, pp. 138, 152–54, 187–89; D. Merritt and F. Greenacre, with K. Eustace, Public Sculpture of Bristol, Liverpool, 2011, pp. 138–40; Royal Society of Sculptors website – Judith Bluck FRBS; D. White and E. Norman, Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, Liverpool, 2015, pp. 166–67; T. Wyke, Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, 2004, pp. 307, 329.

David A. Cross, 2017