‘Gerry’s Pompeii’ gets three-week reprieve
Campaigners get more time to save talented pensioner’s artwork
15 November, 2019 — By Helen Chapman
Some of the remarkable pieces that artist Gerard Dalton created – just a handful of his friends and neighbours knew about them
CAMPAIGNERS have been granted an extension of three weeks to save work made by a self-taught artist who lived in social housing.
“Gerry’s Pompeii”, which features 350 sculptures, 170 wall mounts and a 50-metre-long mural backing onto the Regent’s Canal, was created by Gerard Dalton, who recently died at the age of 80.
Mr Dalton began making wooden models of royal palaces in his Westbourne Park home following the death of his wife 30 years ago.
He also crafted statues in his garden of figures including Oliver Cromwell and Princess Sophia.
Housing association Notting Hill Genesis had intended to clear the property for a new tenant last week but has now offered an extension until December 6.
Gerard Dalton died recently aged 80
Sasha Galitzine, a friend of Mr Dalton who has organised a fundraising campaign to save the artworks, said: “Last week a floating classroom with children on the canal passed Gerry’s Pompeii.
“We called out to them and they were looking out the window. They were saying, ‘I love all the shiny things’, and we said Gerry left a note in the garden that says, ‘Leave a sparkle wherever you go’. They loved it.
“We want the community to be involved in a fundraising event. We are hoping to have a concert on a canal boat.”
Mr Dalton, who described himself as a gardener rather than an artist, let just a handful of people into his home to see his work before his death.
Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, Serpentine Galleries director Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and writer and comedian Stephen Fry, are among prominent supporters who have made donations to save his work.
A Notting Hill Genesis spokesperson said: “Our priority is to ensure that we can house another person in need in the local area, where the demand for social housing is high.
“At the same time, we are keen to support the preservation of the artwork, so have now given an extension until December 6 to allow for it to be properly and professionally catalogued, removed and stored, and we hope work will begin on this immediately.”