Huddersfield artist Rob Martin has unveiled his latest feline painting – a portrait of Gerald the York Minster cat.
The painting has gone on display in the York Gin shop on the platform at York Railway Station. It was unveiled by Rob in front of an audience of art lovers, cat lovers, gallery owners and film-makers. Even the so-called Purpleman of York, a street performer and fundraiser, popped in for a look.
Gerald, a distinctive Bengal cat, became a tourist attraction in York when his ‘owner’ Justine Spencer moved to the city in 2017. Gerald died in September 2020 and Rob – who famously painted Felix the Huddersfield Station cat – was commissioned to paint his portrait.
Outlane-based Rob said: “I looked at quite a lot of photographs and worked on Gerald’s fur patterns. Gerald has quite a stern look but has a glint in his eye. It was a very happy experience painting Gerald and I’m sure it will have a wonderful effect on people who see it.”
The painting depicts Gerald in ecclesiastical robes and carrying a lamp and is framed in gleaming gold.
“I had to climb up to unveil it and it really shone,” said Rob, who has dedicated the painting to Academy award-winning American film editor Paul Hirsch.
Justine, who insists she wasn’t Gerald’s ‘owner’ and she just paid the bills, said she was delighted with the finished artwork which captured the spirit of Gerald perfectly.
“It’s a beautiful painting and Rob has done a great job,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the portrait. It really captures Gerald’s beauty and his spirit. The eyes particularly. It’s colourful and almost magical with clear references to York Minster and his association with York Minster in Gerald’s ecclesiastical attire.
“I’m just so delighted that it’s finally being displayed at York Station where I work so that I get to see him every day. I know that my friends at York Gin will take good care of him.”
READ MORE: How artist Rob Martin got into painting cats