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Inspiration comes in many shapes and sizes. For our spring/summer collection we found ours in the form of a painting; a serene seascape by the infinitely talented Daisy Sims-Hilditch, the eldest daughter of one of our founders. Us in Wiltshire, Daisy in Florence, we caught up via Skype each with a cup of tea in hand.

“I had such a creative childhood. Sometimes I wish I could go back there”

Daisy. 24 years old. Studying in Florence at Charles H. Cecil studios. Charming. Eloquent. Talks at a gentle pace and describes things close to her as ‘magical’.

On art. Has been painting since the age of two. Was shortlisted in the top 20 for the Saatchi gallery at 18. Fell in love with impressionism at 20. Made a commitment to figurative painting at 21.

On family. Is the daughter of John and Emma Sims-Hilditch. Elder sister to Betty and Billy. Shares her bedroom with Kitty the cat. When asked to describe her family, responded “so special”.

Interview Notes

We asked Daisy what her first memories of art were.
“Making finger puppets with my granny. There was always art around when I was little. There still is. Our family has a habit of surrounding ourselves in it. We had a creative box of felt and paints that we’d use. My sister Betty and I would draw these magical islands in such minute detail. My granny would make us costumes too. I remember one year we did our spin on Cinderella with eight or so cousins, but Betty and I were cast as the ugly sisters [giggles]. They were such beautiful gowns though. I loved making those with her.”

Talk to us about school.
“When I think of school, I think of art. My first primary school was such a dreamy place, based in Castle Combe. Sometimes we’d spend the whole day sketching . It was tiny but sadly it closed down so we moved onto a place called Rosehill where I can remember a lot of playing in my wellies [more giggles.]

I wanted to spend as much of my time at school in art class. When I got older, it was such a lovely getaway from academic stress. The art block became my refuge. I went on to study French at the University of Bristol but after a few months I decided to leave. I’m glad I tried it. It’s what gave me the confidence I needed to know I was choosing the right path.”

What happened next?
“I spent a year painting. I was fortunate enough to paint alongside Ken Howard, the British landscape impressionist. He did a course in Morocco and that’s where I fell in love with the impressionist movement. It’s one of the most inspirational trips I’ve ever been on. Now I’m studying here in Florence, I’m back where I started, where school means nothing but art and exploration.”

Then we mentioned Cornwall and there was a pause.
“Cornwall is such a magical place. It makes me think of sailing, sandcastles, picnics and walks with my mum through bluebell woods. St Mawes is particularly special to me; I’ve been going there for as long as my memory allows me to remember. Whenever I’m in Cornwall I feel like I’m away from the real world, like I’ve escaped to a simpler time. The palm trees make you feel like you’re in some faraway land. Perhaps that’s what my childhood drawings were all about.”

The conversation naturally moved onto the painting that inspired the season.
“I remember the day I painted that scene. The water was almost a reflection of the sky. It was so calm. I wish I could recall what we’d done that day, but I know it was dusk when I picked up my paints. Dusk and dawn are such lovely times to paint. It’s peaceful and the crowds have left or are still tucked up in bed.

The light always keeps me on my toes in Cornwall. I’m always racing to capture the moment because everything can change in a heartbeat. Within half an hour a storm can arrive and my paintings are covered in blotchy raindrops. They’re some of my dad’s favourite paintings of mine though; it makes them an even more honest depiction. That’s the thing with the coastline, you just don’t quite know what to expect. It’s exciting.”

We ended talking about family.
“My family is special. We’re so close knit. I miss them terribly when I’m here in Florence. I’m incredibly fortunate to be here, but I miss them. When we’re back together though, it feels like we’ve not spent a moment apart.”

Discover more about Daisy on her website.

Daisy Sims-Hilditch

at Neptune

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W:69cm D:5cm H:59cm
W:59cm D:5cm H:69cm