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£42,000 Heritage Lottery grant to secure archive of Surrey’s forgotten artist whose talents were compared with William Blake

A £42,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund (www.heritagefund.org.uk) will help secure the future of a unique archive of more than 800 works of art that have lain quietly in a Surrey village hall for more than 60 years.

The award, the result of a highly competitive campaign by the Sidney Sime trustees, will bring the talents of this extraordinary Victorian/Edwardian artist back into the limelight as they create a sustainable programme of funding and management to ensure that his legacy is preserved for the enjoyment and fascination of future generations.

Appropriately entitled A Gallery Resurrected, the campaign finally met success just before Easter.

Built in 1956 from the proceeds of the sale of the nearby family home, the Worplesdon Memorial Hall (www.sidneysimegallery.org.uk) houses all 800 of Sidney H Sime’s (1865-1941) artworks, as well as letters, books and personal memorabilia in his wife Mary’s possession, as a permanent memorial for future heritage, conservation, enjoyment and interest.

Subsequent acquisitions include personal letters and 36 caricatures of local men who frequented the New Inn pub nearby whom Sime drew.

A career as an artist, caricaturist, humourist, scholar, philosopher and illustrator must have seemed an impossible dream for the poverty-stricken young man from Manchester who spent his early years down coalmines, but his extraordinary imagination and raw talent led to him becoming a renowned illustrator of books and  magazines  following formal training at Liverpool School of Art.

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