Saturday, 9 January 2016

Watts Gallery- Artsits' Village

Ten miles south of the LightBox Gallery in Woking is the Watts Gallery in the heart of the Surrey Hills, two more different settings you couldn't imagine. There's the work of the great Victorian artist GF Watts (1817-1904) in the historic galleries with over 100 paintings and sculptures on permanent display. There's also the Grade 1 listed chapel nearby designed by Watts' wife, Mary, described in extremely glowing terms by Lucinda Lambton on their website.
In the Richard Jefferies Gallery, there's a display of the work of William and Evelyn De Morgan on loan form the De Morgan Foundation, the De Morgans were apparently close friends of the Wattses, and key figures in the Arts and Crafts Movement.
I started my tour looking at the remarkable De Morgan ceramics which appear below:

 Admittedly there are a lot of photos of them, but I think they are so beautiful, that I didn't really know when to stop.

 Maybe this jar below was the most exquisite? I don't know.
From there I went to have a look at an exhibition entitled 'Brothers in Art', featuring drawings by Watts and Leighton, they were friends for 40 years, and although both celebrated painters, their drawings reveal a remarkable technical ability. I didn't take any photos of this exhibition, although very much enjoyed looking at it.
From there I went into the Sculpture Room with the two massive sculptures situated in there and lots more.
 Above is a photo of 'Physical Energy', a full scale gesso grosso model, a mixture of plaster, glue and chopped hemp, it could be modelled when wet and carved when dry. From the model he made 3 casts made in bronze situated in Kensington Gardens, London, National Archives of Zimbabwe and the other one is at the Rhodes Memorial overlooking Cape Town.
Below you can see the model in gesso grosso, it's spectacular
 From there I went to have a look at the GF Watts paintings
 Seen above 'Time, Death and Judgement', and below a general view of the gallery
 and just visible on the right below, 'Hope' one of his best known paintings possibly
 I didn't photograph it, but the painting of Lord Leighton in a velvet suit and waistcoat is another great painting.
I took some photos inside the Watts Cemetry Chapel as well:
 Above part of the ceiling, and below some of the flowers on the walls
 A sort of daisy above and iris below
 Below you cna see the intricate work that has gone into the decorations inside the chapel
 And here's a photo of outside, giving little clue to the beautiful terracotta workings on the outside, but the rain was heavy it was chilly, so time to leave after a visit to the excellent shop and tea room.


  1. Hi Linda - One of my favourite portraits is that of Edith Villiers, Countess of Lytton painted by GF Watts. Edith's ancestry can be traced back to Barbara St John and Lydiard House

  2. Thank you for that Frances, I've just looked up the link you gave me. I must have seen the G.F. Watts portrait of Edith because I went to see at the Pre-Raphaelites Victorian Avant Garde exhibition at Tate Britain (until January 13, 2013)