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‘Genius’ Worplesdon Artist To Be Exhibited at Woking’s Lightbox

Published on: 25 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 28 Feb, 2017

Sidney Sime (1865-1941) self portrait c. 1900

An artist, whose work was shaped by his journey from the coal pits of Lancashire to the world of aristocracy, and the artistes of the London clubs, theatres and music halls, is to have his work exhibited at the Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking in April and May.

The exhibition, The Art of Sidney Sime, Artist and Philosopher will explore the life of Worplesdon resident Sidney H Sime (1865 – 1941), “one of the greatest imaginative artists since Blake”, renowned for his book and magazine illustrations, paintings and drawings.

It will be the biggest ever exhibition of the artist’s work and is to include many recently restored paintings and illustrations.

His earlier art, shaped by Sime’s fascination with imaginary beasts, hell and the afterlife, is in sharp contrast to his Scottish landscapes and later quiet life in Worplesdon, drawing caricatures in the local inn.

All this can be traced in fine black and white illustrations, theatrical caricatures of actors’ comedians and singers, drawings of bogey beasts, dramatic oils of apocalyptic proportions, and humorous sketches of ordinary men doing everyday jobs, in a marvellous display that has become an important local piece of social history.

“Illustrative” c. 1920

Although his reputation languished for many years, and despite the encouragement of his two aristocratic patrons, Lord Howard de Walden and Lord Dunsany, to exhibit his works publicly, Sime’s reticence and desire for anonymity mostly prevailed.

His exceptional and original fancy, his penetrating invention and his delicious humour earned for him the distinction of “genius”.

Lord Howard de Walden wrote, following Sime’s death: “I don’t like the idea of his being forgotten only to be rediscovered in a hundred years hence….I am determined that he should be recognized in spite of himself.”

“The Waterfall” c.1900

The purpose built Sime Art Gallery at Worplesdon Memorial Hall from where the exhibits have been selected is home to over 800 items of paintings, drawings and memorabilia by Sime, bequeathed to the Trustees by his widow Mary.

Sidney Sime

The trustees of the Sime Gallery in Worplesdon and sole sponsors, Ewbank’s Auctioneers of Send, have recorded their thanks to the The Lightbox gallery and museum for hosting the exhibition to celebrate the memory of and to ‘rediscover’ the Art of Sime.

The Art of Sidney Sime, Artist and Philosopher will be on show at The Lightbox, from the April 15 2017 – May 28 2017. For further information please visit

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