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Art Of Worplesdon’s Sidney Sime On Show At The Lightbox in Woking

Published on: 20 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2017

An artist who painted surrealist scenes as well as caricature drawings, and who lived his later life in Worplesdon, is the subject of an exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking.

Pictured from left at The Lightbox: Thomas Seymour; the curator at the Sidney Sime Gallery, Anne Philps; trustee Mary Broughton; and Chris Ewbank. They are holding examples of Sidney Sime’s work.

The work of Sidney Sime (1865-1941) may not be well known, although it has been said that he is probably the greatest imaginative English artist since William Blake. And what many may also not know is that the trustees of Worplesdon Memorial Hall are custodians of a huge collection of Sime’s work, bequeathed to the village by his widow.

Now some of his work is on display at The Lightbox gallery and museum until the end of May, and it is well worth a visit.

The Mayors of Woking and Guildford, Anne Murray and Gordon Jackson respectively, presented a bouquet of flowers to trustee of the Sidney Sime Gallery, Mary Broughton, for her devotion to the art collection.

The gallery was packed on Thursday (April 20) for an invitation evening of the exhibition at which a number of people spoke about Sime and his life’s work.

Born in Manchester, he went to work in coal pits in Yorkshire at a young age and at the same time started sketching. Largely self-taught, by his early twenties he had won several medals and prizes from studying at Liverpool School of Art. He was then able to undertake a career as an illustrator for books and magazines.

The artist Sidney Sime. These pictures courtesy of the Sidney Sime Gallery.

After his marriage in 1898 to Mary Pickett, Sime was fortunate to inherit money and property from a deceased uncle. Sime and his wife settled in Scotland. There he painted a number of landscapes, but in 1904 they moved to Crown Cottage at Perry Hill, Worplesdon, converting a stable into a studio.

As can been seen at the exhibition, Sime’s work was wide ranging: from oils to watercolours, and from pen and ink sketches to cartoons.

One of Sime’s fantasy paintings titled Illustrative.

Although in his later life Sime became something of a recluse, he did enjoy sitting in the bar at the New Inn (nearly opposite his Worplesadon home) making cartoon drawings of other characters who drank there. That was the former pub building, now replaced and called the White Lyon & Dragon.

One of the speakers at the launch was Thomas Seymour, whose grandfather, Lord Howard de Walden, knew Sime well and a patron his work. It was through de Walden that Sime was commissioned to design sets at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket.

A pen and ink and monochrome watercolour titled Old King Cole, published in Pall Mall magazine in 1903.

Mary Broughton is the trustee of the Sidney Sime Gallery and the author of a booklet about Sime and his work that accompanies the exhibition at The Lightbox. She also spoke at the preview and mentioned that cleaning and conservation is being carried out some of Sime’s paintings and this has been undertaken in conjunction with Camberwell College of Arts.

The volunteer custodians at the Sidney Sime Gallery and the staff at The Lightbox have worked hard to create a fascinating exhibition that is well worth seeing and a great introduction to the artist’s work.

The gallery at Worplesdon Memorial Hall is also open to the public at certain times. Click here for its website and for more information on the artist, as well as a link to a You Tube clip about Sime and the gallery.

One of the characters of Worplesdon drawn by Sidney Sime.

A number of organisations and individuals were thanked at the invitation evening for their support in staging the exhibition, including auctioneers Ewbank’s. The founder of the family run firm, Chris Ewbank, also gave a speech during the evening.

The evening was attended by the Mayors of Guildford and Woking, and from the art world was Rupert Maas, one of the regular experts on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, and also BBC TV and radio correspondent Nick Higham.

It has been said that Sime had a vivid and fertile imagination, but it was combined with a wicked sense of humour. And that he was a master of the mysterious as he rarely described his thoughts behind his paintings.

Click here for the Lightbox’s website and details of the exhibition and opening times.

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Responses to Art Of Worplesdon’s Sidney Sime On Show At The Lightbox in Woking

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    One of the wonderful assets of Worplesdon. Hopefully more people will visit the gallery at Worplesdon Memorial Hall and make others aware of Sidney Sime and his amazing art work. With the variety of art work I know there is something for everyone.

  2. Bill Stokoe Reply

    April 21, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Well done Mary Broughton and the team! Very interesting launch and great exhibition by way of taster for Sime’s work.

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