Since retiring from business eight years ago, my brother David Millidge has finally had the time to return to his first love, sculpture. Since becoming a man of leisure, he initially flirted with photorealistic oil painting, but soon settled on ceramics as a means of expression and almost immediately began producing striking and distinctive ceramic sculptures.
His works are composed of multi-piece slip cast earthenware with layered glazes, metallic lustres and bespoke ceramic transfers, taking influences from industrial design, exotic cultures, science fiction movies and architecture. In the last couple of years he’s exhibited at La Galleria in Pall Mall and Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, and had solo shows at the Sculpt Gallery in Braxted and London’s D Contemporary in swanky Mayfair.
But for eleven days this June and July his work was centre stage at an expansive solo show taking place in a new dedicated exhibition space in the grounds of the beautiful Royal Horticultural Society’s Hyde Hall, near Chelmsford in Essex. Here he had over seventy pieces on display, from his earlier abstract works, through his life-size busts to his new full-body figures and spectacular exploded pots. Pride of place were two elaborately constructed tableaux reinterpreting Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and John Singer Sargent’s “Gassed,” each composed of numerous separate figures and many dozens of separate elements.
The event was a huge success, and in the eleven days of exhibiting, David sold a large proportion of the pieces on display. It makes me very happy to see my big brother achieving some of his lifelong goals at a relatively late stage in life. But it was always kind of inevitable. He’s one of the most inventive, optimistic, earnest and friendly people you’d want to meet.
David is almost eleven years older than me; he introduced me to The Beatles, The Prisoner, Monty Python, Stanley Kubrick, bubble lamps and many other things that became cultural keystones of mine. He was rehearsing with his psychedelic rock band The Mode in the loft room we shared as a bedroom when I was five. A few years later he was a student at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, taking part in the infamous ‘Locked Room’ experiment (subject of BBC’s 1970 Omnibus documentary, A Question of Feeling). To say he was a huge influence on my formative years is an understatement.
Now, at seventy years old, he’s more creative than ever, producing a bewildering range of ceramic sculptures at an astonishing pace. This exhibition was a testament to his talent and versatility. And I have no doubt there will be lots more to come. His work will next be exhibited at Ceramic Art London in April 2022.