Museum Highlight

Reginald W. Ford

If you were taking a walk through Reading in the summer of 2018 perhaps after visiting our Summer Show at the University London Road Campus and making your way to the Abbey Quarter to look at the recently reopened ruins, you may have gone via Duke Street and come across this view. It hasn’t changed much. [Highlighted: May – Jun 2018]

Book cover of Reg Ford’s Autobiographical work
‘Record of a Pilgrimage’ was published in 1936.

High Bridge
by Reginald W. Ford (1909–1973)

Pen and ink drawing
20cm x 14cm
Date 1933

RGA member:1930–1956

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1934.6.1 (original drawing)
High Bridge, 2018

This drawing from the early 1930s is of a still very recognisable High Bridge (often called Duke Street Bridge). High Bridge (a grade II listed building) crosses the River Kennet in Reading town centre and is apparently the oldest surviving bridge that crosses the river. This drawing was exhibited in the Reading Guild of Artists Fourth Exhibition, November 1st to 30th 1933, at Reading Art Gallery.

The artist used this drawing as the frontispiece in his Autobiographical work ‘Record of a Pilgrimage’ published in 1936.

Born in Reading in 1909, Reginald, who suffered from muscular dystrophy from the age of 11, studied art at Reading University under Professors Seaby and Pearce. He also studied lithography with the Berkshire Printing Company before becoming a freelance commercial artist. He was possibly one of the youngest members of the Reading Guild of Artists, being 21 when he first exhibited in our founding year 1930.

On Friday 11th May, 1973 the Reading Chronicle reports on the death of one of Reading’s best-known artists, Reginald W. Ford. Among his more famous works was a balsawood scale model of the Reading Abbey and its surrounds as he thought it existed in its prime.

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