World renowned sculptor Philip Jackson exhibits at Chichester's Oxmarket

Usually a gallery will be wanting to know exactly what is coming in advance.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 8:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 8:06 am
Philip Jackson

World renowned sculptor Philip Jackson will be taking a rather different approach when he exhibits for the first time in Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery.

“What we are going to do is go down there with a lot of large pieces and a lot of medium and smaller-scale pieces and literally see how things work in that space,” Philip says. “Sometimes that’s the best way of doing it. Exhibition organisers like to have to list of what is going in, but sometimes it is just better to look at the space you have got.”

The exhibition will run from October 13-November 1. Exhibition entry is free, with donations going to the Oxmarket’s Refresh campaign. Philip’s works will be available for sale.

Philip is well known for his major outdoor pieces such as Bobby Moore and Sir Alf Ramsey at Wembley Stadium, the equestrian sculpture of the Queen riding in Windsor Great Park and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in London’s Green Park.

Many of his gallery works, which are inspired by Venice, are held in public and private collections around the world.

And it is these gallery works which he will be showing in Chichester: “It will be a selection of pieces, including some newish ones.”

For Philip, as for everyone, it has been the strangest of years: “This year everything we had planned has been postponed or cancelled. I am still finishing off a big piece for Bangladesh, a nine-foot bronze of the father of the nation.

“I did it from photography and film, and I am literally at the last stage now. It will be shipped out in the next couple of months. We are not rushing to go anywhere at the moment so if we get invited to the unveiling, we will have to think very carefully about that.”

Closer to home: “We had the garden open at Cocking and a lot of people were able to see the sculptures. People like the idea of going around the garden which is safe and open air – and by appointment which limits the number of people.”

Now he moves back into the gallery space – and he does so as a new book is published about his life and work, written by Tim Bouquet and entitled Philip Jackson A Life In Sculpture.

“We had a book some years ago,” Philip says, “and it was very popular. We had a reprint of it and we ran out of that and so we had a second reprint. We thought we couldn’t reprint a third time because it was starting to seem so out of date. I decided that we should do another one, and I didn’t really want to do a mark II. I wanted something different, so I decided to ask Tim.

“It started off with me telling him about all the work I had done, and the first draft he did was virtually that. But I said to him that I wanted it from his perspective. I gave him a list of people that I have worked for and he went away and talked to them and interviewed them. When he sent me the draft, I could hardly bring myself to read it. I thought ‘Oh Lord, what is this going to be like?’ But I am really pleased with it – and it is a beautifully produced book.”

It is available from bookshops and also from the Oxmarket during the exhibition.

The exhibition is in support of the Oxmarket’s Refresh appeal to upgrade and improve the gallery, a medieval Grade II church. The project will deliver improvements to a space where the wellbeing of the users will be dramatically enhanced. Oxmarket chairman Sophie Hull said: “The Oxmarket Gallery is a much-loved local gallery and community space, largely run by volunteers and if it is to continue to be sustainable and attract a larger footfall, it must do this refurbishment work. It is going to cost at least £150,000 and as a small local charity we need all the help we can get.

“We are hoping local philanthropists will consider supporting the project which will enable us to better serve the gallery users, visitors, staff and volunteers, as well as enabling us to expand our work with organisations that support local disadvantaged young people.”