Reckitt, Rachel

(1908 – 1995)

Towers and Helmets, 1960's

Mixed media, sheet metal

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Louise Walker

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 48.

As Rachel Reckitt’s style evolved, her interest in three-dimensional form became evident. The figures
in her paintings and drawings were composed of planes resembling cubes and cones, almost as if they
were studies for the works she was later to realise in sculpture. From the 1960s onwards, Reckitt all
but abandoned painting and engraving to concentrate on boxed constructions, collages in mixed-media
set within wooden frames. Deeply inspired by the teachings of Harry Horrobin, a former armourer,
whose courses on metalwork she attended, Reckitt constructed collages using soft metal and painted
corrugated cardboard. Towers and Helmets, on which corrugated cardboard, string and sheet copper is
applied to an aluminium base, is typical of her highly creative three-dimension compositions in which

a motif is repeated across a linear plane. Although in the 1930s she had made a number of mixed-
media signs for pubs in Exmoor, their utilitarian function was far removed from the spiritual aspirations

of these later works.

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THE ARTIST

Reckitt, Rachel

1908 – 1995

Artist in mild steel, wood, stone, paint and wood engraving, born in St Albans, Hertfordshire. She studied at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in late 1930s under lain Macnab, and in 1970-5 at the Roadwater Smithy, Somerset, with Harry and Jim Horrobin. After training Reckitt worked from home in west Somerset at Rodhuish, Minehead. Carried out commissions for pub signs; wood-engraved book illustrations and single prints; and did sculpture in five Somerset churches and for private commission. She was an honorary member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen and SWE and a member of British Artist Blacksmiths’ Association. Other group shows included Wertheim Gallery and LG. Had solo exhibitions at Duncan Campbell Contemporary Art and Bridgwater Arts Centre. A retrospective publication, Rachel Reckitt: where everything that meets the eye… appeared in zoos, Hal Bishop’s survey of her work, supported by Somerset County Museums Service and the Golsoncott Foundation, accompanying shows in Taunton, Glastonbury and Exeter. Public collections in Salford and Bridgwater hold examples, as do Withycombe, Old Cleeve and Leighland.

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