Artist beats field to win £25,000 prize for sculpture

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The Independent Online

From a distance, it will have all the appearance of a patch of ploughed earth in the midst of the gardens of a grand country house.

From a distance, it will have all the appearance of a patch of ploughed earth in the midst of the gardens of a grand country house.

But the earth will be, in fact, a cast of a small rectangular section of field in bronze, the winning sculpture in the Jerwood Sculpture Prize 2005 announced last night.

Judith Dean, 39, beat seven other shortlisted artists to be declared the victor in the competition where the winner gets £25,000 to turn their idea into a full-size sculpture to go on display at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.

All eight currently have maquettes - or models - of their proposals on display at the Jerwood Space gallery in London.

Dean's proposal, entitled Field, is for a sculpture about four metres by less than two.

"My proposal is to cast a small, rectangular section of a ploughed field in bronze and install it in an area of lawn in the gardens of Ragley Hall. The sculpture's patina would be dark brown, as if rich, fertile soil."

The five-furrow original would be ploughed by John Webb, the National Ploughing Champion, at Seabrook's Farm, Little Leighs Hall, Essex.

Clive Adams, an independent curator, who was one of the judges, said he was very keen on the idea as a celebration of agriculture and emphasising the association between the words culture and "agriculture. "The skill of ploughing is something quite often removed from everyday knowledge," he added. "I think anything that draws attention to the skill of people who support the farmers is a really interesting thing." He said he suspected the other contenders - David Rickard, Julian Wild, Douglas White, Andrea Gregson, Yoko Fukada, Simon Hitchens and Elizabeth De Monchaux - had a strong chance of seeing their ideas realised somewhere in the world in the coming year.

The Jerwood Charity which administers the prize will receive a £10m cheque from the Jerwood Foundation today to complete a £25m endowment to secure its long-term future. The foundation was established by John Jerwood, who made his money from cultured pearls, and has been run since his death in 1991 by Alan Grieve.

Official figures released in the annual report for the first time show it has given nearly £70m towards supporting the arts since then.

An additional £2m is to be given to the Jerwood Space to create a large new rehearsal space suitable for major musicals in addition to its existing studios at Bankside.

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