Carved Brickwork Crest presented to the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers
The Red Mason is acknowledged the world over as the leading authority and master of the art of ‘Gauged Brickwork’, the highest branch of the traditional bricklayer’s art: and, within that, is also highly-regarded for his additional artistic ability to sculpturally carve within this medium.
On 1st September 2016, and directly following becoming a freeman of the City and then being admitted to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers, Gerard set out, prepared, laid and carved the Company’s Armorial Bearing within a scaled panel of finely ashlared gauged brickwork.
The carving was executed in Gauged Brickwork, a term from the 17th Century that denotes the highest expression of the bricklayer’s art and which raised its practitioners to the level of a mason. I am acknowledged as the world’s leading authority on this and was responsible for reviving the art during the 1980’s, both through a number of publications and teaching of the skills Essentially the special low-fired ‘rubbing bricks’ are worked, post-fired, to very accurate measurements in order to be laid with the finest of joints.
Firstly Gerard had to set out and build the brickwork upon which I would then carve the armorial bearing in ‘bas-relief’. This involved first reducing the overall scale to both create the desired effect of a tablet of bonded brickwork: and to make it light and small enough to be carried. All the miniature bricks were carefully cut from two much larger bricks, which were then rubbed and squared to size, and laid with joints 0.5 mm thick in a mortar of crushed chalk (‘whiting’) mixed with shellac, in order to set them and be strong enough to allow for carving with chisels, mallet and files.
The process of undertaking the carving was very painstaking and it took just over 2 weeks of my time to complete it within my workshop. Completed it was then set into the presentation box to show it off to its best advantage with the name of the Livery Company as well as its motto engraved on polished nickel-plated steel.