It all started with this recent purchase.
An original linocut, titled "Old Mill, Near Somerton, Suffolk." signed "A Reeve" & numbered 3/10.
.... but which A Reeve, there are a couple listed in various art indexes, but none immediately fit, either because of dates or the media they worked in. These tiny edition sizes sometimes suggest that the artist was not confident in selling many, which in turn may suggest an amateur.
The style, loosely stylised, suggests a 1960's or 1970's date, although the frame it came in appeared to be older. I found a clue when I taking it out of the frame, the original back board had been reversed at sometime, this revealed an exhibition label.
Mysterious !! Reading Guild of Artists (maybe) London address and a price of £8. The price rules out an early date and suggest a post decimal date - after 1971. The Reading Guild of Artists, established in 1930, still exist and their website, which details exhibiting members, does not mention our A Reeve, that would be too easy.
.. as for the title - very confusing !! is this mill in Denston or near Somerton. Possibly both, they are less than 5 miles apart - but are there any windmills ?? Yes !! according to Wikipedia there is a windmill at Stansfield, very near both villages, but not our mill. Stansfield Mill is a brick built round tower mill, whilst the mill in the print is a wooden "smock" mill - help need finding this one.
Returning to our artist - here is the signature.
..... and here is another similar signature found on a print sold a few years ago at auction.
Very similar, the A & R are different, but the "eeve" is the same. The picture this belongs to is titled "Piccadilly" and is a very fine atmospheric image. The auctioneers catalogued this as woodcut with the artist as "Agnes Reeve" -- I think are are getting closer.
Other print by Agnes Reeve traced includes titles such as; "Portrait of a gentleman with a pipe", "A view of Big Ben" and "Hyde Park Corner". This last one is in the Government Art Collection, acquired in 1977 from the Mall Galleries exhibition of the Federation of British Artist and is signed, titled and numbered 1/10. Sadly it is currently hanging in the British Embassy in Montenegro, so not easy to view.
deyoung.famsf.org, allows you to search their collection and view this in detail.
A close up reveals that this is signed "agnes Reeve" but it is not clear enough to confirm that they are the same - probably are though.
I think San Francisco are wrong - she was not North American, but a Brit living in London. There is even a prize awarded by the Chelsea Art Society called the "Agnes Reeve Memorial Prize" for the best picture of London in their annual exhibition. If we are really keen, this would be a lead to further research and they have a current member called Penelope Reeve !!
Somerton Mill is a striking image which at the time of posting is for sale in my "Sales Gallery".