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The Magical World of William Simmonds: Puppets and Paintings Exhibition


12th October 2019 - 18th April 2020

Step into the magical world created by local puppeteer, artist and woodcarver William Simmonds (1876-1968). Discover all the fun of the circus and the enchanted realm of the woodland with fauns and clowns, nymphs, ducklings and much more drawn from Simmonds’ imagination and the natural world around he saw around him at home in Far Oakridge. This exhibition brings you the full range of Simmonds’ work as an artist - all designed with a desire to delight both young and old.

This major exhibition brings you rarely seen treasures from Gloucester’s collections by Simmonds, his wife Eve and their many artist friends in Gloucestershire, as well as loans from private individuals and museums. It paints a picture of the vibrant artistic Arts and Crafts Movement community in Gloucestershire in first half of the 20th century - the legacy of which can still be felt today. Also includes work by William Rothenstein, Charles March Gere, Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher and more.

Before he was a puppeteer and woodcarver, Simmonds was a painter. The exhibition features a never before seen painting by Simmonds, newly conserved for the exhibition. Nymphs was painted in 1907, and was probably shown at the Royal Academy, but was discovered rolled up in Simmonds’ workshop when it was acquired by the museum service in 1985. We are delighted to be able to show this work, one of the only oil paintings by Simmonds in a public collection.

Curated by Dr Jacqueline Sarsby.



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Museum of Gloucester

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