Reinvigorating the life of a great Victorian artist

I spent an inspiring day Saturday at the Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey at day one of the Gallery’s Heritage Open Days. The Gallery celebrates the work of the artist G.F. Watts and his wife Mary but other artists’ work is also displayed.

Watts Gallery taken in August 2012
The Watts Gallery taken on a previous visit in August 2013

Watts’ nearby home, “Limnerslease”, and his adjoining studios are about to be renovated and I felt privileged to take part in the House, Studio and gallery tours.

Watts House and StudioLimnerslease and adjoining studio

Watts made his living mainly from his portrait work but alongside these produced some ground making paintings such as Hope (a reproduction of this was reputably kept in his cell by Nelson Mandela) and the Minotaur (currently on loan to the Watts Gallery from the Tate). He was meticulous and some of his most paintings took over thirty years to complete. I could identify with this as I am still working on a novel I started in the early 1970s. The Watts Gallery is well worth the visit. Details can be found on their website at:

http://www.wattsgallery.org.uk.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

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