Video: Meet the men who will immortalise Gerald the York Minster cat in stone and on canvas

5 Dec 2020 @ 4.51 pm
| News

After one false start and a deal that fell through, Justine Spencer has announced the name of the man who will carve a sculpture of her much loved pet, Gerald the York Minster cat.

YorkMix can also reveal that the artist who painted Felix the Huddersfield station cat is doing a portrait of Gerald too.

The sculptor is Anthony Bartyla, founder of The Raven And The Hare Stone Carving in York. The artist is Rob Martin who also produced the film about York street entertainer Purpleman.

Anthony Bartyla learnt his trade of stone masonry and sculpture working for the Fitzwilliam Estate in Malton
The artist Rob Martin (right) with one of his cat paintings – Photo from Rob Martin’s collection
Video: See Justine with Anthony Bartyla

Originally we reported that Martin Coward, from Terrington would be involved in the project to create a statue of Gerald but that is not possible now.

Justine Spencer says she is so grateful to Anthony who has stepped in to take over.

He learnt his trade of stone masonry and sculpture working for the Fitzwilliam Estate in Malton and studied masonry at York College. He has worked on the famous York House, with links to Charles Dickens, and the Atlas Fountain at Castle Howard.

Developing close ties to the artists at York Minster, he soon developed a keen eye for stone carving.

Working for a time at Salisbury Cathedral only increased his passion for the craft. Learning the centuries-old techniques of the past to apply to his work, Anthony says he is constantly refining his style.

Anthony Bartyla at work

Working out of York, his home town, he spends his time creating bespoke pieces for clients.

He said: “I love the challenge of bringing forth an idea that both the client and I feel passionately about, bringing the forms out of the stone and breathing life into the sculpture out of the perfect medium that is stone”

He will use a piece of Yorkshire Limestone from a quarry at Tadcaster.

A portrait of Gerald

The other news is that artist Rob Martin has agreed to produce a portrait of Gerald in his unique style.

Rob has previously depicted Felix – who despite the name is female – in a Bronte-period dress. The painting has pride of place in the railway station lobby.

Felix the cat Huddersfield
Felix has also had a visit from Purpleman from York – Photograph: Rob Martin

The Felix painting led to others too, like the one at Tiverton Tesco in Devon. Rob has also painted Jeremy Corbyn’s cat.

YorkMix will be following the progress of both projects.

Watch: Rob Martin talking about the Tiverton Cat portrait – DevonLive

Justine said she was delighted that Anthony and Rob are involved and it would be a fitting tribute to Gerald who died earlier this year.

The Bengal and his brother had many fans as they roamed around the city streets.

A familiar face: Gerald, the York Minster cat