'...as near, in these days of specialisation, to the archetypal renaissance man as one may find' - Colin Moss
Born in Norwich, he lived and worked for almost fifty years in Ipswich. Bernard Reynolds (1915-1997) is most widely known as a sculptor but he was also an inspirational teacher. At the age of 17 he studied at Norwich School of Art, then went to the Westminster School of Art in 1937. He met and exhibited with Henry Moore in 1936-37. Becoming involved in several influential artists' groups, Reynolds was characterised by his quietly rigorous but passionate, self-imposed discipline to every project he undertook; owing to his multiple pursuits, his works were many and varied.
He was an astute critic of art, whose carefully judged opinions were valued by colleagues, friends and students alike. In conjunction with these artists and later, Edward Barker of Norwich, Reynolds' multiple pursuits led him to run exhibitions of East Anglian Sculpture from 1949 to 1966. The very first one happened within Ipswich School of Art in the High Street, a building happily reopened for art exhibitions in recent years.
As a man who "lived by and for his art", Bernard Reynolds' deep dedication to his calling was never in question. Apart from his involvement in exhibitions and teaching, Reynolds was commissioned to create sculptures for several buildings in Ipswich. He made cement reliefs on the Castle Hill and Sprites Lane schools, a stone relief on the Eastern Counties Farmers Head Office, the pair of 22 foot high Pylons (which once flanked the entrance to our Civic College and now stands, rather imposingly, in a grassy area shaded by maples near to Suffolk New College), a 24 foot stained-glass window in St. Matthew's School and the fourteen foot-high Ship fountain sculpture at the Civic Centre. Because of this last work, he was awarded the Sir Otto Beit Medal for 1972. It was "the best piece of sculpture to come to the notice of the Royal British Society of Sculptors as being set up anywhere in the British Commonwealth, excluding London, during that year". Since being moved from its original position to the Civic Drive roundabout near the spiral car park in 1996, this fine work is familiar to many thousands of people every year.