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Sidney Reeve (1875-1943), artist, designer & silversmith

 

Sat 20 January – Sun 11 March 2018

Sidney Reeve was born in Bewdley, Worcestershire, where his father was the local postmaster. Reeve trained as an art teacher and taught at Kidderminster School of Art.

It is not known how he became aware of the Guild of Handicraft or when he met C.R. Ashbee. He did spend time at the Royal College of Art in London where their paths may have crossed. 

The Guild of Handicraft moved to Chipping Campden in 1902, the same year that Reeve joined the Guild as a silversmith. He was part of a new breed of craftsmen who tended to be older, with existing skills. The Guild attracted many makers and by the end of 1902 Ashbee was employing in excess of 71 men. Reeve was not a Guildsman and little is known about the work that he produced as all the Guild’s silver was stamped with the GoH hallmark. However an illustration in The Studio Magazine of 1903 shows a silver hammered punch bowl described as being designed by C.R. Ashbee and executed by Jack Baily and Sidney Reeve.

Reeve only stayed in Campden for a couple of years. In 1904 he left to teach elementary drawing and silversmithing at Leicester School of Art. In 1908 he married Dorothy Hands, who came from Chipping Campden, and they lived near the Leicester School of Art. He registered his own hallmark six years later.

Reeve worked in Leicester for the next thirty years, taking on private commissions as well as teaching. When he retired in 1934 he came back to Campden, and worked occasionally at Hart Gold & Silversmiths. It was during this time he received a commission to make the chalice and paten for the Cathedral Church of St Martin in Leicester.

Reeve died on 20th April 1943 in Cheltenham of kidney failure. He is buried in St James’s Church, Chipping Campden.