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WELCOME Welcome to our Spring 2014 Friends’ Update. We remain hugely grateful to you for your donation via your membership, allowing us to achieve great things in Compton. At a time when Watts Gallery Trust is taking on the long-term care of Watts Chapel and preparing to open Watts Studios in 2015, we have never needed your support more. A special thank you to those who have signed up for Direct Debit, which reduces our administration. For Mother’s Day this Sunday, we are offering boxed Gift Memberships with an additional bonus of a delicious pot of jam for mothers. These smartly boxed gift memberships come with an eco bag, postcards, magazine and sticker and can be collected or posted. To purchase, contact Merope Deane on 01483 813 595 or the Visitor Centre on 01483 813593. We hope you will join our new free event, suggested by one of our Friends, the ‘Friend Bring a friend’ morning at the Gallery and Chapel. It’s a great chance to introduce Watts to a neighbour, friend or family member.

Please save the date of 9 June for a Friends’ First View of Watts Gallery’s summer exhibition, Ellen Terry, at 3.30pm-5pm. Another free event. Did you know that instead of going to a retailer’s website, if you click on easyfundraising, and then shop at your chosen retailer, each purchase generates a donation for Watts Gallery, at no cost to you. It’s completely free to use and your shopping won’t cost you a penny more. On average, each retailer will donate 5% of the cost of your shopping and those donations soon mount up. We look forward to welcoming you to Watts Gallery soon.

Stephanie Dennison Development Manager

FRIEND BRING-A-FRIEND EVENT Thursday 24 April 2014, 10am—11am, FREE Bring a friend along to this first ever free ‘Friend bring a friend’ event and spread the secret of Watts Gallery. You and your friend will be welcomed with refreshments and have private access to Watts Gallery ahead of public opening. At 10.20am, a Curator will give an overview of the collection — perfect for introducing a friend to Watts Gallery who you always thought should visit. You will be able to enjoy the current temporary exhibition John Ruskin: Photographer and Draughtsman, which has been described by The Independent as ‘a brilliant, bijou exhibition’. Curator, Nicholas Tromans, describes Ruskin as ‘arguably the most influential person of the 19th Century’. The exhibition gives an unequivocal insight into the traditional methods of fine art and the new technology of photography that Ruskin used to document his travels of Europe. Next stop is a visit to the extraordinary Grade-I listed Watts Chapel, along Down Lane, where staff will be present until 12noon to discuss the making of the Chapel and its symbolism.

The surrounding Watts Cemetery has also recently been listed as Grade-II* and contains the graves of celebrated author Aldous Huxley and his family, as well as many local residents. If you prefer to shop with friends, then the Watts Gallery Shop and Old Pottery Gallery will be open on the day, for all those gift ideas and treats, or a guide book to help you find out more about the artist GF Watts. The Old Pottery Gallery will be exhibiting Lyngard Ceramics and Robert Lyngard Simpson displaying a beautiful array of vases, lamps and lustre glazes that has been developed over six generations of potters from one family. If you wish to stay on for refreshments or lunch in the Tea Shop, please do indicate this in advance and we will do our best to provide maximum capacity on the day.


FRIENDS’ EXCLUSIVE TOUR OF SMALLHYTHE & SISSINGHURST Thursday 22 May, 9am—6.15pm, £40 (including lunch & travel) ONLY A FEW PLACES LEFT An exclusive tour of Ellen Terry's home Smallhythe Place in Kent, ahead of Watts Gallery’s summer exhibition Ellen Terry: The Painter’s Actress, followed by a visit to the beautiful gardens at nearby Sissinghurst. We will depart from Watts Gallery by coach at 9am, have refreshments upon arrival at Smallhythe, followed by a private tour. Now run by the National Trust, Smallhythe Place was purchased by Ellen Terry (the first Mrs Watts) in 1899, and now houses a fascinating personal and theatrical collection highlighting the celebrated Victorian actress’s extraordinary career and unconventional personal life. Artefacts associated with GF Watts will be on display for our visit. Lunch will be at 12.30pm at nearby Chapel Down Vineyard, including a locally-sourced menu. After lunch we will make the short journey to Sissinghurst Castle, which Vita Sackville-West, the poet and writer, transformed in the 1930s with her husband, Harold Nicolson.

The extensive gardens are stunning and panoramic views of the 450-acre farm and original castle ruins can be enjoyed from the top of the Tower. Departure from Sissinghurst will be at 4.30pm arrival back at the gallery is due at approximately 6.15pm. Kindly note: that for the Gallery's administration purposes, we would be very grateful if you could let us know in advance to if you are a member of The National Trust. If so, please bring your membership cards with you on the day.


FRIENDS’ & PATRONS’ MIDSUMMER PARTY Saturday 21 June, 2.30—5pm, £20pp Dr Mary Caroe kindly invites Friends and Patrons to her beautiful, historic home and gardens at Vann, Hambledon for a Midsummer Day’s Party. The internationally renowned five-acre gardens were designed by celebrated gardener Gertrude Jekyll and complement a stunning family home dating from the 16th Century (and formerly the country seat of mayors of Guildford 400 years ago). There were additions to the house in Arts and Crafts style in the early 20th Century. Of particular note is the Water Garden, designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911 and the Yew Walk (1909). The gardens have been featured in a variety of magazines, including Country Life (click here to see 26 February 2014 issue), and have also been used for filming several episodes of the popular TV drama Poirot. You will be welcomed with a summer cocktail, followed by an introduction to the captivating history of the house and gardens by Mary, whose family have owned Vann for more than 100 years. Entertainment will be provided by a five-piece jazz band throughout the afternoon.

A raffle will also be held with some splendid prizes. A seated, formal afternoon tea will round off the afternoon serving sandwiches, cakes, strawberries and scones. A free shuttle-bus will also be provided by Watts Gallery from nearby Witley train station for those wishing to be collected. Please let us know in advance if you require this service, to Parking for cars will be available in a field adjacent to the house and gardens. A wet weather plan on site has been arranged so it will go ahead, regardless of rain.


Friends' Update March 2014  

Spring Update of Friends' events and activities at Watts Gallery

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