More Birds of a Feather
1st Ghost: "Hullo old man. I'm deligh- grieved to see you in this place. Why, you built that tin chapel down our street."
2nd Ghost: "O hang it you needn't remind me of that. You preached in it!"
Charcoal, ink and white gouache on card; signed
20 x 13¾ inches
Potter Books Ltd
Simon Heneage and Henry Ford, 'Sidney Sime', 1980, ill p 13
Frank Harris, in Contemporary Portraits, left a description of Sime: 'A strongly built man of about five feet seven or eight with a cliff-like, overhanging, tyrannous forehead. His eyes are superlative greyish blue looking out under heavy brows, eyes with a pathetic patience in them as of one as you has lived with sorrow; and realises - "The weary weight of all this unintelligible world." From time to time humorous gleams light up the eyes and the whole face; mirth on melancholy - a modern combination'.
A course at the Liverpool School of Art set Sime on track to become an illustrator of dark, atmospheric and fantastic subjects. His first successful drawing was for Pick-Me-Up magazine in 1895, entitled Ye Shades, an eery and amusing imagining of the difficulties of ghostly figures newly arrived in the underworld. A year later he developed the same theme in this drawing, in which two ghosts, carrying buckets of coal (as Sime himself had done in his first job as a pit boy in a Yorkshire Colliery) for a demon to shovel into the fires of Hell, recognise one another. Referring to this drawing, his biographers Heneage and Ford wrote:
'The media Sime used in [this drawing] included wash, charcoal, ink and lampblack with Chinese white or grey body-colour for the highlights - a variety that must have posed many problems for the printers in those relatively early days of half-tone and that occasionally defeated them. Sime worked his media with brushes, pens, knives and sponges; it was his constant aim to make his pictures more mysterious and for this purpose he used means that would be on the scope of most illustrators. His approach was that of a painter, concerned with textures and tones and lighting.' (p12)
Published in The Idler, March 1896.