Website designed & produced by Fiona Curtis
Supported by Compton Parish & Guildford Borough Councils & Compton Village Association
Nestled in the beautiful Surrey Hills, Watts Gallery first opened its doors to the public in 1904. It is unique in the UK being the only purpose-built art gallery created for the display of works by a single artist, the great Victorian artist G.F. Watts (1817-1904). Over one hundred paintings and sculptures are on permanent display; spanning a period of 70 years they include portraits, landscapes and major symbolic works.
Perched on a hillside, overlooking the Gallery sits Limnerslease; the Autumn/Winter home and studio of G.F. and Mary Watts. Originally built in the Arts & Crafts style, Limnerslease is about to undergo a major restoration project. Don’t miss the chance to join a guided tour and glimpse the start of this nationally important project.
To this day, the artist village legacy lives on, with artists working onsite and a contemporary gallery selling arts and crafts from local and national artists. Watts Gallery also runs an extensive events programme for families, adults and young people offering the opportunity to improve your art skills, attend a lecture, or meet one of the artists in residence.
The English symbolist painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts lived in Compton during the latter years of his life.
George Frederic Watts occupies a unique place in the history of British painting. Famous in his day as a painter and sculptor, he gained the nickname of ‘England’s Michelangelo’. His aim was to re-invent British history painting in a grand manner, making images that were both uplifting and thought provoking. He believed art should also be accessible to everyone, not just the rich, so he gave many of his pictures to public galleries, helping to found the Tate Gallery in 1897.
Watts was a serious individual, so it may therefore come as no
surprise that his marriage to the teenage actress Ellen Terry,
was short lived.
In later life he married Mary Fraser-Tyter ( 1886) who was 36 years his junior. Mary devoted the rest of her life to her husband, both during his life and after his death.
In 1891 Watts made Limnerslease his winter retreat and it remained so until his death in 1904. Mary Watts, his second wife and the inspiration behind the move to Compton and the Chapel, continued to live there until she died in 1938.
Shortly before his death in 1904, G F Watts saw the opening of the first and main portion of 'Watts Picture Gallery' ( 1903)
Dr Nicholas Tromans is Curator and is currently Senior Lecturer at Kingston University, London. Nicholas has worked previously at Sotheby’s and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham, and has worked with many museums including Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and most recently Tate Britain as a guest curator and consultant. Nicholas was the lead curator of the international touring exhibition, The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting. He has published widely on nineteenth-century British art, including books on Richard Dadd and on G.F. Watts’s Hope.
Click HERE for more details about Watts work, Events and Exhibitions
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