William Sillince R.W.S., R.B.A., S.G.A., F.S.I.A. (1906 - 1974)
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Doctor and Patient by William Sillince
Doctor and Patient. c. 1940s Sold
Woman in a Crowd by William Sillince
Woman in a Crowd. c. 1940s Sold


Oil painter and illustrator; commercial designed. Born in London, Silence studied art at Regent Street Polytechnic and the Central School of Arts and Crafts. After a period in advertising in the 1920s and 1930s, Silence went freelance, drawing for Punch and other periodicals.

Described by Fougasse as ‘technically a most excellently equipped artist, with an enthusiasm for experiment’, William Sillince is best known as a wartime cartoonist whose soft pencil lines perfectly portrayed the limitless reserves of cheerful resilience of the British character.

Between 1949 and 1952, Sillince taught part-time at Brighton College of Art, before lecturing in graphic design at Hull Regional College of Art from 1952 to 1971. He also illustrated a number of books, including Water, Wine and Song (1943), This Merrie English (1954) and Basic British (1956), and was commissioned to design the Alice in Wonderland room at Burton Constable Hall, East Yorkshire. He died on 10 January 1974.

A keen watercolourist as well as cartoonist, Sillince exhibited at the Royal Academy, New English Art Club, the Royal Society of British Artists (of which he was elected a member in 1949), the Royal Watercolour Society (ARWS 1949, RWS 1958) and the Royal Scottish Academy. He exhibited abroad, in Belgium and France, and was an Honorary Foreign Member of the Philadelphia Watercolour Club.

His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the British Museum and Imperial War Museums.