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ISSUE NO 14 Spring 2012

ÂŁ1 Fiona MacCarthy on Burne-Jones and Watts Mark Bills on The Hall of Fame portraits Mary McMahon on Nic Fiddian-Green Laura Phillips on joining the Watts Gallery team 1

19th Century Paintings, Drawings and Watercolours Wednesday 11 July New Bond Street, London Closing date for entries: Friday 25 May 2012 London +44 20 7468 8201


Dante Gabriel Rossetti (British, 1828-1882) Portrait of Alexa Wilding pencil 41.5 x 31cm (16 5/16 x 12 3/16in). ÂŁ25,000 - 35,000 PROVENANCE: George Pryce Boyce; Mrs Gertrude Holliday, her sale, Edgbaston, c. 1938, acquired by the father of the present owner.

International Auctioneers and Valuers -

WATTS GALLERY HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE ART FUND PRIZE 2012! Watts Gallery has been nominated for the Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries 2012 and we need your support to persuade the judges that Watts Gallery should win the £100,000 prize. The five judges will be visiting all of the 10 long-listed venues before announcing the shortlist on 14 May. However they are keen to hear from the public and want you to tell them why Wattts Gallery should win. Some of the comments left on their website so far include: “This is a thoughtful, beautiful resurrection of a site that perfectly evokes Watts as an artist and as a man. Simple and sensitive it is an example of the best type of house museum.” Katy Barrett, Cambridge “That so much has been achieved by such a small institution in the depths of the Surrey countryside is worthy of recognition and praise.” Janice Wilson, London

From left to right, Sir Mark Jones, Richard Ormond, Chairman of Watts Gallery Trustees, The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, Charlotte Higgins and Perdita Hunt, Director of Watts Gallery on the judges visit to Watts Gallery. Photograph by Peter Gardner.

Watts believed in Art for All and winning this competition would help us to further his vision of providing the opportunity of transformation through art for more people.” Here are ten reasons why Watts Gallery should win the Art Fund Prize:

“A project that has truly involved local people, and has saved the work and place of a national treasure, G.F. Watts and a great café too!” Susie Merry

1. Magnificent restoration of a hidden gem and artistic treasure

Perdita Hunt, Director of Watts Gallery, commented: “This is wonderful news for the hundreds of friends, volunteers, donors, artists, craftsmen and staff who have worked so hard to rescue one of this country’s hidden gems.

3. A ground-breaking Art For All Learning Programme inspired by its founders G.F. and Mary Watts

2. Outstanding collection by one of Britain’s most important artists

4. Internationally significant exhibitions drawn from national and private collections

5. Unique programme of events, concerts, tours, talks and visits 6. A community of more than 300 dedicated volunteers 7. An important library and archive containing 5,000 rare Victorian photographs 8. Pioneering apprenticeships in curatorial, marketing, pottery and estate management skills 9. The celebrated Tea Shop serving Welsh rarebit and homebaked scones and cakes 10. £100,000 would support the saving of Limnerslease, Watts’s home and studio, for the nation To support us visit: 3

Watts Gallery is deeply grateful to all its donors. These benefactors have provided particularly generous support:

‘G.F. Watts: The Hall of Fame - Portraits of his Famous Contemporaries’ in the Exhibitions Gallery, Watts Gallery, 2012. Photograph by Anne Purkiss

WATTS MAGAZINE - ISSUE NO. 14 Edited and laid out by Andrew Churchill, Marketing Manager, Watts Gallery Position supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Printed by Selsey Press Original design by Peper Design Advertising - 0207 300 5675

COVER George Frederic Watts, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1862-4, Private Collection. from G.F. Watts: Hall of Fame

VISITOR INFORMATION Down Lane, Compton, Surrey GU3 1DQ Tel +44 (0)1483 810 235

OPENING TIMES Monday Tuesday - Saturday Sunday / Bank Holidays

Closed 11am - 5pm 1pm - 5pm

EVENTS BOOKING LINE Tuesday - Saturday, 11-5pm 01483 813593


Heritage Lottery Fund The Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation The Isabel Goldsmith Patiño Foundation Garfield Weston Foundation The George John & Sheilah Livanos Charitable Trust Richard Ormond CBE Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement English Heritage An Anonymous Donor Christopher Forbes J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust The Ingram Trust The Foyle Foundation Professor Rob Dickins CBE The Linbury Trust Art Fund David Pike Guildford Borough Council The Robert Gavron Charitable Trust Hamish Dewar Ltd Peter Harrison Foundation The John Ellerman Foundation The Finnis Scott Foundation The Restoration Fund The Wolfson Foundation The Mercers’ Company KPMG Foundation The Pilgrim Trust Miklos and Sally Salamon Surrey Hills LEADER The Anson Charitable Trust The Billmeir Charitable Trust The Monument Trust Surrey County Council Man Charitable Trust The Henry Moore Foundation John Lewis OBE Wates Foundation The Michael Marks Charitable Trust The Rothschild Foundation The Foundation for Sport and the Arts The de Laszlo Foundation Oxford Exhibition Services The Michael Varah Memorial Fund Spencer Wills Trust The Fenton Arts Trust The Hazelhurst Trust And all those who wish to remain anonymous




Around 40,000 people will have visited the restored Watts Gallery by the end of March, the largest attendance in the Gallery’s history.

Mezzo-soprano Ann Murray DBE (below) performed a thrilling recital for Patrons at the first annual supper in the restored galleries earlier this year, accompanied by Terence Allbright on piano. Around 75 Patrons and guests enjoyed a black-tie supper in the Isabel Goldsmith Patino Gallery.

We are gathering interest for a tour in April 2013 to Florence in the footsteps of GF Watts in the 1840s, to be organized by Italian travel service IC Bellagio and led by Watts Gallery curator, Mark Bills.

With three internationally significant exhibitions scheduled for 2012 the visitors are expected to keep coming. The current exhibition ‘G.F. Watts: The Hall of Fame’ (until 3 June 2012) brings together for the first time Watts’s most admired portraits. This is followed by ‘Dickens and the Artists’ which will examine the author’s views on art and artists and also what artists made of Dickens (19 June - 28 October 2012). To complete 2012 we will be showing the works of William and Evelyn De Morgan (6 November - 27 January 2013).

FRIENDS’ TRIP TO HIGHGROVE We are delighted to be able to offer Friends the opportunity to visit the beautiful private garden at Highgrove, home of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday 3 July. The price of £75 per ticket includes coach travel, garden tour and a light lunch in The Orchard Room Restaurant, Highgrove. More details and how to book can be found in the leaflet inside this magazine.

A VISIT FOR PATRONS Patrons are invited to see two wonderful collections in spectacular settings in Buckinghamshire on 1 May 2012. Lord Rothschild is generously providing a private tour and lunch at Waddesdon Manor followed by a visit to the home of Watts Gold Patrons, George and Kirsty Anson. Enquiries to Stephanie Dennison 01483 813581 or

The trip will include: • 3 nights’ stay in a four-star hotel in the heart of the city • An exclusive visit to the Uffizi Gallery’s secret Vasarian Corridor (usually closed to the public) to see Watts’s self-portrait • A tour of the hilltowns of Florence with an expert guide, visiting Settignano and Fiesole (where Watts painted his landscape, which hangs in the Weston Gallery). • A rare, exclusive visit to the Medici’s Villa Careggi – currently being refurbished and usually closed to the public – to see Watts’s famous fresco, representing the Death of Doctor Leoni, which dates back to 1845 when he was a guest at the villa of his patron Lord Holland. In addition there will be a visit to a sculptor’s studio, a tour of Florence as well as lunches and dinners. For full details of the programme please contact Stephanie Dennison, 01483 813581 or fundraising@



A detail from Irish Famine by G.F. Watts and an x-ray of the same detail, revealing a second painting below the surface.

A generous grant from the Association of Art Historians and an adoption by Ann Laver has allowed the Watts Gallery to carry out research into one of its most significant paintings: G.F. Watts’s Irish Famine (c1848–50). The late 1840s is an important period for Watts and probably the most transitional phase in his career. Irish Famine is a significant example of Watts’s experiments in ‘social realism’, marking a change in subject and approach, and beginning a radical engagement with social issues that continued throughout his life, albeit in a very different guise. Watts’s radical volte face from history painter to painter of contemporary social subjects is nowhere better illustrated than in this painting. Originally 6

commissioned by the wealthy Ionides family to paint Panthea for Athens University, Watts abandoned that subject to paint instead the horror of the Irish Famine. From letters between Watts and Ionides, and from the very evident pendimenti of the canvas, we knew that traces of Panthea existed underneath this picture. It has always been the desire of the gallery to have the painting X-rayed to see how much of Panthea could be revealed, and the AAH grant has made this happen.

with a large circle filling the canvas. It has served to answer some questions but it has raised many more.

The first phase of the project has involved sending the painting to the International Fine Art Conservation Studios Bristol to have the surface X-rayed. The results have been intriguing and have shown that the composition was predominantly architectural,

With many thanks to Ann Laver, a new sympathetic and fitting frame, copying the style of frames used in other works from this series and from historic photographs has just been fixed to the painting.

The second phase of the project is to carry out further research from archives, contemporary journals and oral history. This work has included interviews with Edward Chapman, who recalled many aspects of Watts’s library, sadly sold and dispersed after the death of the artist’s wife, Mary Watts, in 1938. Research will continue throughout 2012.


Watts had been in Italy from the spring of 1843 until about April 1847 and had not yet been to Ireland when he painted Irish Famine. The painting was originally known as The Eviction and was Watts’s vision of the famine in Ireland.

G.F. Watts’s Irish Famine, c.1848–50 Watts Gallery Collection.

When visiting Watts Gallery after it had re-opened I remember lingering in front of Irish Famine. The painting portrays a family group of mother and baby, barely alive, with pleading looks towards her husband to provide food. This group stands for the tragedy in which a million people died due to policy failure and potato blight, and where the population fell by 20-25% by mortality and emigration, reached its peak in 1846/7. The background is not like the green lush Ireland that I saw in the summer. The dark portrayal of the background brings home the misery of the family. Paintings to me have not only history but mysteries and connections. Irish Famine has mystery in that Watts painted it over another partly finished painting for the wealthy Ionides

family, which is visible on an X-ray. Early in 1847 scenes were reaching people through pamphlets, poems, images, and newspaper reports. One pamphlet, Narrative of a Journey from Oxford to Skibbereen during the Year of the Irish Famine, was published in 1847 after two students from Oxford, and from wealthy homes were shocked by what they saw, and was published to raise funds. One of the students was Lord Dufferin, his family seat at Clandeboye, near Bangor, to which he succeeded to in 1841, was far removed from the sight at Skibbereen. It was much later that Watts came to paint Lord Dufferin, Frederick Temple HamiltonTemple-Blackwood 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (1826-1902), at the height of his political career for his Hall of Fame.

One of Watts’s sources was poetry. The Year of Sorrow (1849) had been written by his friend, Aubrey Thomas de Vere (18141902), born at Curragh Chase, Limerick. Vere had visited Watts in London; during 1849-50 Watts had a studio at 30, Charles Street, Berkeley Square. Vere arranged in October 1850 for Watts to go to Curragh Chase: ‘You would find much to interest you deeply in Ireland, besides its scenery, including not a little of which you must have had a second-sight.’ This painting for many years was not exhibited; it was finally shown 32 years later. It offers a background of social history, mystery and connections, and I am proud to have Adopted such a painting.

For the current top 10 priority works available as part of the Adopt A Watts Scheme, please see For enquiries contact Stephanie Dennison on 01483 813581.




The exhibition currently on show at Watts Gallery ‘G.F. Watts: The Hall of Fame’ and the talks around it explore the questions that portraits raise. What exactly can we tell from a face? Or more specifically what can we tell from an image of a face? The difference between the two is that an artist has intervened, whether that is a painter, sculptor or photographer. Artists interpret sitters through recreating a likeness, using various means at their disposal such as lighting, emphasis and pose. What is put in and what is left out is so important. An image attempts to be timeless, people are more dynamic. The skill and challenge of the portrait artist is to produce a portrait that lives long after the sitter has died, an image that continues to live. Watts Gallery is showing an exhibition, The Hall of Fame, in its Exhibitions Gallery. My fear was that the portraits, which are all of a similar scale, that take the head as the focus with minimal detail in the background,

could look a bit uniform, rather like a line of portraits that can be seen in a mayor’s parlour, a repetitious group of bearded men against a dark background, little distinguishing one from the other. Watts’s Hall of Fame portraits could not be further away from that kind of uniformity and the individuals shine out, making the viewer feel that they are in a room surrounded by a crowd of strong personalities. Looking at a good portrait we feel we are in front of a tangible personality, an idea forms in our minds of who that person was. Simply stated, they continue to live on in the portrait. But just how accurate is our view of them? What has the artist changed or accentuated? It is very interesting to note that so many of Watts’s sitters didn’t like their portraits, Thomas Carlyle, for example, complaining that he looked like a ‘mad labourer’. Watts broke through the idea of the selfimage, through the obvious view and in doing so gave us a very continues...

left G.F. Watts, Thomas Carlyle c.1868-9 © National Portrait Gallery, London above G.F. Watts, Sir Charles Dilke (detail), 1873 © National Portrait Gallery, London


rare and special glimpse of the sitters in his portraits, or as G.K. Chesterton described them ‘Devout and Ethereal Caricature’. If we consider how physical attributes can speak about the soul of the sitter we have no better example in Watts’s portrait of Cardinal Manning. Despite the cadaverous head of the Cardinal which looks to be in decay, there is a bright spark, vigour and relentlessness in the portrait, a marked contrast to the body. A question that the Hall of Fame exhibition poses surrounds the ideas of fame and role models. In 1840 Thomas Carlyle wrote his famous essay on heroes and hero worship espousing what was a commonly held Victorian view on history, that is was forged by great individuals. The birth of the National Portrait Gallery and the Hall of Fame series fit very much into that idea. In his lecture, The Changing Faces of Fame, Professor Rob Dickins CBE will talk about how fame has been historically portrayed in painting and photography and the parallels he draws from his career working alongside celebrities of the 20th Century. Exhibition Talk: G.F. Watts: Hall of Fame Richard Ormond CBE & Professor Leonée Ormond Thursday 19 April 2012, 7pm-8.30pm The Changing Faces of Fame Professor Rob Dickins CBE Thursday 24 May 2012, 7pm - 8.30pm £8 (£7 for Friends) to include a glass of wine. To book tickets for these events please call 01483 813593 (Tuesday to Saturday) or visit 10 Ticket Offer: Book both events for £12 (£10 for Friends) and save £4

top G.F. Watts, Algernon Charles Swinburne,1867 © National Portrait Gallery, London above G.F. Watts, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (detail), 1882 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Until 10 June 2012

Tickets 0844 209 0051

Supported by

Johan Zoffany RA, The Sharp Family (detail), 1779-81. Oil on canvas, 115.6 x 125.7 cm. By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Lloyd-Baker Trustees. This exhibition has been co-organised by the Royal Academy of Arts and the Yale Center for British Art.




left G.F. Watts, Edward Burne-Jones,1870 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery below Edward Burne-Jones, cartoon

It was the summer of 1857. Burne-Jones was twenty three, a tentative and nervy young man only recently arrived in London, just finding his feet as an artist, when Rossetti took him to Little Holland House. They travelled out by cab to Kensington to see the Prinseps. En route Rossetti did his best to overcome BurneJones’s shyness: ‘You must know these people, Ned; they are remarkable people: you will see a painter there, he paints a queer sort of pictures about God and Creation.’ This was Burne-Jones’s introduction to Watts. Their relationship flourished. From Burne-Jones’s point of view it was an important and an influential one. Watts had for some years been artist-in-residence at Little Holland House, respected, cosseted and flattered by the Prinseps who addressed him reverentially as ‘Signor’. He was of a slightly older generation than Burne-Jones and at this point he became a kind of mentor, as Burne-Jones acknowledged: ‘It was Watts who compelled me to try to draw better’. Burne-Jones had had little professional training; Watts encouraged his perfecting of technique. But more than that, and more important, was the

impact of Watts on Burne-Jones’s serious ambitions as a painter. He gave him his sense of epic possibility. Throughout their lives there are intriguing overlaps. They were on easy domestic terms together. People who have an impression of Watts as a rather remote and charmless character may find it quite surprising that after Burne-Jones married and had children Watts presented his wife Georgie with a sewing machine.

Burne-Jones made a lovely comic drawing of Watts’s sewing machine in use. When Burne-Jones strayed from his marriage into a tempestuous and scandalous liaison with the beautiful Greek Maria Zambaco there is another connection with Watts, favoured painter of the rich Greek merchant families in London. Maria’s mother had been born an Ionides and Watts had painted Maria as a child and again at the time of her marriage. 13

left G.F. Watts, Dr. Demetrius Zambaco, 1858 Watts Gallery Collection below G.F. Watts, Alexander Constantine Ionides and his Wife, 1841-42 Watts Gallery Collection

Watts’s portrait of Maria’s estranged husband, the somewhat sinister Dr. Demetrius Zambaco, a specialist in venereal diseases, is in the Watts Gallery collection.

Burne-Jones had a high opinion of Watts as a portraitist of great skill and psychological depth, referring to his ‘almost living portraits’. In 1870 he became the subject of a Watts portrait himself. Of all Watts’s many portraits of the Victorian great and good this was apparently the one the artist was most pleased with. Certainly, for me, it captures wonderfully Burne-Jones’s strange wistful elusiveness of character. He regarded the picture as insurance against ageing. ‘What a blessed thing is painting’, commented Burne-Jones, ‘for now I have a red beard forever’. The portrait was eventually donated to the city art gallery in Birmingham, BurneJones’s home town.


Burne-Jones struggled for recognition as a painter, suffering decades of ridicule and rebuffs. It was relatively late in life, with the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877, that he began to experience real fame. He found himself suddenly at the very centre of the metropolitan artistic and intellectual elite, cultivated by the glamorous aesthetic movement hostesses. Through a period of understandable temptations there were two restraining influences: one was his close friend William Morris, already on the road to revolutionary socialism; the other was G.F. Watts whose total dedication to his work acted as the voice of Burne-Jones’s conscience. When asked out to society dinners Burne-Jones guiltily remembered G.F. Watts’s habitual five o’clock supper of a little dish of lentils followed by rice pudding, washed down with barley water and milk.

He did not admire Watts slavishly. Burne-Jones could be quite caustic about the more grandiloquent, self-consciously intellectual aspects of his work. As an artist he himself was more diverse and versatile, more delicate, more human and a great deal more responsive to the comical than Watts. But what they had in common was an intense and overriding belief in beauty and in its potential for the enrichment of all our human lives. Fiona MacCarthy is the author of The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination. She gave the Watts Lecture on Wednesday 22 February 2012.

MUSIC AT WATTS GALLERY: A RECITAL FOR JOACHIM Mark Bills, Curator of Watts Gallery Joachim, his students and friends sometimes played in Watts’s studios at London and Compton and the paintings could be viewed in a new light whilst music filled the air. Mary recalled one such occasion when Joachim played and ‘the pictures glowed, and from their harmony of colour and rhythm of line gave out an answering echo to the great masters of tone. It was a wonderful evening, well thought out and carried to perfect success by the two hostesses. We went back to the quiet of Surrey woods next day; Signor was well, and for him, in looking back, the pleasure of the evening quite outweighed the prelude of disquietude.’

G.F. Watts and Dr. Joseph Joachim at the front door of Limnerslease, Watts Gallery collection.

One of the most interesting images that emerged from our scanning of the glass slide collection at Watts Gallery was one showing Dr. Joseph Joachim, the great Hungarian violinist and composer standing next to G.F. Watts at Limnerslease. It shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the greatest musicians of his age should be with Watts on his doorstep because we know what friends they were, meeting for

the first time many years before at Little Holland House. Joachim regularly played for Watts and his circle and it must have been quite an event in rural Compton in the gas-lit drawing room to hear the violinist play. We know this because on a bill in the archive in a hand-written note about the Drawing Room, Mary recalled: ‘Joachim accompanied by Donald Tovey [on piano] played in this room to Mr. Watts’

There is an opportunity once more to enjoy the music played to Watts in Compton amongst Watts’s paintings in a concert that celebrates this special relationship: A Recital for Joachim. The programme is drawn from the music that Watts heard Joachim play, the melody of Beethoven’s song “Adelaide,” Watts once asked him to play; ‘he rolled that leonine head of his,’ Mary recalled ‘and answered, “Why, yes, if you have a violin,”’.

Music at Watts Gallery: A Recital for Joachim, Thursday 10 May 2012, 7pm- 8.30pm. £35 (£30 for Friends). To book tickets call 01483 813593 (Tuesday to Saturday) or visit 15


NIC FIDDIAN-GREEN: THE HEAD OF CHRIST Mary McMahon, Curatorial Fellow at Watts Gallery

left Head of Christ, bronze, 2011 right Portrait of Nic Fiddian-Green, Anne Purkiss, 2012 below Small Head of Christ, silver, 2011

“Christ was taken to a hill called Golgotha, the place of the skull, where they nailed His hands and feet to a tree. When his last breath left Him, they took Him down from the ‘cross’ and He was carried to a tomb. There He was gently placed on the earth, His body was embalmed in a precious oil and was wrapped in fresh linen cloth and there He was laid to rest.” The sculptor Nic Fiddian-Green is perhaps best known for his equestrian sculpture first exhibited in 1986. Taking as his focus for many years the head of the horse, Nic experimented with method and material to create the illusion of movement, emotion and energy in a static figure.

Nic’s excitement for his subject The Head of Christ is apparent in both the quality and variety of the sculpture that he has produced. Through these damaged, deconstructed icons he directly confronts the role of religion in the modern world; the secularisation of the spiritual. His discarded and fractured heads suggest the neglect of an established iconography, weathered by time. Conversely the power of his pieces, their recognisability, demonstrates the enduring strength of the symbol, providing a sense of constancy and hope. These heads of Christ have a spiritual and emotional resonance. With this theme Nic has broached a new challenge, a 17

right They Stretched Out His Arms and Nailed Him to a Tree, lead relief, 2011

head filled with symbolism, tied to years of history and religious struggle. The theme of the head of Christ was a fortuitous product of the creative process. Nic describes a visit from the photographer Richard Foster whose photos of the sculpture revealed things he had not previously seen: “Lit from beneath I could see the sad, sorrowful and resigned expression so clearly on Christ’s face and his worn skin was stretched over his vulnerable and broken ribs that seemed to press out through the dark curtain of lead. When I looked back again at the fragment, I strained my eyes and I still could not see what he had revealed.” Nic Fiddian-Green’s love and tacit understanding of materials is expressed in every worked and beaten surface. His phrase “born, to be broken and rise again” relates poetically to the process of constructing these heads of Christ. ‘Born’ in the casting of his work from molten metal or sheets of weathered lead, Nic works his pieces, weathers, patinates, and modifies them until a new work rises again with a fresh presence and impact. Known for creating large striking images, with his new theme Nic plays with scale to consider the impact of the icon in different sizes. Scale - the articulation of space and its relation to the body 18

– directly affects the viewer’s response to his works. Nic’s sculpture is tender and unflinching in its approach to this image of suffering, and a touching humanity is brought to the representation of Christ’s ordeal. He shows a body broken and abused – as the materials themselves are worked and beaten. The result is an ageless, timeless image, the message twofold: On the one hand destruction, on the other endurance.

Nic Fiddian-Green: The Head of Christ 20 March - 10 June 2012 Showcase Gallery Works in this exhibition are for sale.

Come and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Accolds Farm The new relaxed way to view and buy art.

Whether it be sculpture, ceramics, glass, wood, paintings or photographs. This will all be on display as you saunter through the tranquil surroundings of Accolds Farm.

THE ARTISTS Painters: Imelda Apps, Steve Whitehead, Paula Zimmermann, Min Maude, Sandra Whitmore, Alan Waldie. Photographers: Pattie Boyd, Robin Friend, Georgina Mascolo, Tom Pope Sculptors: Matthew Chambers, Jon Edgar, Carol Orwin, Katie Surridge, Nick Ashman, Marina Cowdray, G e o f f r e y S t i n t o n, J a z A s b u r y. C e r a m i c s, G l a s s, Wo o d : S o p h i e M a c C a r t h y, Pe t e r Archer, Annica Sandstrรถm and David Kaplan, Sarah Wiberley, Katy Jennings.

ADMISSION FREE 24th to 28th May, 2pm to 5pm. Or by appointment. The Joze Show, Accolds Farm, Kirdford, West Sussex RH14 0JP. 19

LIMNERSLEASE: MAKING A STUDIO GREAT AGAIN Perdita Hunt, Director of Watts Gallery

The home and studio of G.F. Watts, Limnerslease, is the subject of a project to save and restore it for the nation. The historic photograph opposite was taken after the artist’s death and shows the studio full of paintings and the artist’s furniture. Below you can seen the studio today with a mezzanine floor added. If successful Watts Gallery Trust aims to return the studio to its former glory.

Limnerslease, the house and studio of G.F. Watts and Mary Seton Watts, set upon the hill across the lane from Watts Gallery looks down on the gallery and pottery created by its founders and was described by a visiting journalist in 1906 as a light set on a hill. It offers a fascinating insight into Watts and Mary Watts’s working, social and domestic life at the end of the 19th Century and is unique in being the only remaining Ernest George artist house and studio, and the only remaining 19th-Century artist’s studio with the collection still in tact. Its grounds have woodland and trees painted by Watts in some of the landscapes in the Watts collection. Opening Limnerslease to the public offers the opportunity to learn about Mary Watts through an exhibition of her work and an interpretation of the Watts Chapel, it gives a chance to left The Studio at Limnerslease, 2012, photo by Anne Purkiss right The Studio at Limnerslease, 1913, Watts Gallery archive



“GF WATTS WAS A VISIONARY WHO BELIEVED IN ARTS POTENTIAL TO TRANSFORM LIVES AND THE POWER OF THE ARTIST AS A SINGULAR INDEPENDENT VOICE THAT CAN SPEAK FOR ALL. I AM HAPPY TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THE REVITALISATION OF HIS HOME AND STUDIO AS A PLACE OF INSPIRATION.” ANTONY GORMLEY RA represent Watts’s studio with its original furniture and equipment; it provides space for hosting a class of 30 primary school children for learning workshops; it can house a conservation studio for a trainee conservator from City & Guilds of London Art School, and it can deliver Mary Watts’s vision for community learning while establishing Compton as a centre for exploring Victorian art, social history and craft. For these reasons, Trustees of the Watts Gallery Trust feel compelled to seek help to save Limnerslease for the nation. The first stage is to save the Watts studios at Limnerslease and 22

the second stage is to save the house. Through the immense generosity of four lenders, there are two years to raise the funds. So far £0.5m has been raised towards saving the studios. We are seeking the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and, if we are successful, to unlock their grant we will need to raise £2.5m. We would be so grateful for any ideas, advice or support which could secure the Watts legacy in Compton for future generations. To find out how you can help support the Limnerslease project please call Perdita Hunt, Director, on 01483 813582 or email

top The fireplace designed by Mary Watts in the studio at Limnerslease, photo by Anne Purkiss above Watts’s painting table, Watts Gallery Collection

VICTORIA’S DIAMOND JUBILEE AND A JUBILEE TEA PARTY FOR FRIENDS Louise Boreham & Gail Naughton, Friends of Watts Gallery On the 2 June 2012 Watts Gallery will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II with a traditional tea party in the grounds of Watts’s home and studio, Limnerslease. We know Watts held similar events at his home and a recently discovered invitation, designed by the artist, reveals a celebration in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Mr & Mrs Watts and friends invited guests to join them at Monkshatch, then the home of Andrew and May Hichens, who originally enticed the Wattses to Compton. Eliza Ellice, a widow, lived in nearby Eastbury Manor. With her staff and horses, she travelled south in a special train from Invergarry, her estate in the Scotland. William More Molyneux, a bachelor, was a member of the family which owns Loseley House, then tenanted, while he lived in St. Catherine’s House in Artington. This invitation, lithographed by G.F. Watts, was sent to the parents of Louis Deuchars, tutor of Mary Watts’s evening modelling classes for the Compton Chapel. ‘Love took up the glass of time and turned it in his glowing hands’ comes from Tennyson’s poem ‘Locksley Hall’. The wall supporting ‘Love’ contains a sundial indicating the year 1897. Flanking that are entwined heraldic motifs; the Rose of England, the Thistle of Scotland and the Shamrock of Ireland, with Victoria’s Royal Arms on the left and the badge of the Order of the Garter on the right.

G.F. Watts, Invitation to a celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, lithograph, private collection.

The old French motto ‘Soy povr Foy Roy et Loy’ translates loosely into ‘Be for Faith, King, and Law’, or ‘Respect authority’.

vintage crockery. It is hoped that the actor Timothy West will join us to give a reading from Watts’s writings.

Friends’ Jubilee Tea Party Saturday 2 June 2012 2.30pm - 5.30pm, £15

To book tickets call 01483 813593 (Tuesday to Saturday) or visit

Exclusive to Friends of Watts Gallery, the event will include a full afternoon tea served on beautiful 23


“A FANTASTICALLY RICH, INSPIRING, BEAUTIFUL AND ENERGISING PLACE” Laura Phillips, Head of Learning at Watts Gallery As a new arrival at Watts Gallery, I’m taking great pleasure getting to know its spaces; the calm of the galleries before opening where I seem to find something new each day, the smell and scale of the sculpture gallery filled with light, the crocuses shooting up in the sun on the front lawn, the almost overpowering visual delight of the Watts Chapel, the cosy treat of the tea shop, woodpeckers flying up from the Limnerslease grounds, the excitement of stepping back in time and imagining Watts’s studio as it was, with the wonderful archive photography collection to help my thinking, and the pleasure of seeing these spaces fill with visitors discussing the art and making it their own – seeing Watts’s studio back in use for a series of portraiture classes has been a particular highlight, along with watching children engage with the characters in Watts’s paintings through wearing their costumes and imagining their thoughts, feelings and life stories. In short, what a fantastically rich, inspiring, beautiful and energising place to work. Watts Gallery already opens up opportunities for staff and volunteers to develop their skills and experience. This close knit team includes an Artist in Residence, Helen Jarvis, Marketing Apprentice, Kerris Kaya, Pottery Apprentice, Joyce Hyslop and NADFAS sponsored Curatorial Fellow, Mary McMahon. These roles are recruited with

an emphasis on training – their time at Watts Gallery is an opportunity for the post-holders to develop their ideas, increase their transferable skills and gain on-the-job experience to support their future careers. In return, the Gallery benefits from the new ideas knowledge and creativity that these team members bring. Discussions are under way to expand this successful area of Watts Gallery’s work as part of the planning for Limnerslease. The David Pike Conservation Studio will offer opportunities for conservation students to work directly on the collection in collaboration with City & Guilds of London Art School, further PhD opportunities for research students, student placements to work on the archive in its new location in collaboration with Royal Holloway, an Artist in Association programme and a planned new Learning Apprentice position designed to support the busy learning programme and develop the skills of a learning professional. The new spaces that Limnerslease will provide, will also enable a range of new shorter trainee opportunities specifically created to suit some of the participants in the Art for All learning programme. It is hoped that Limnerslease will be able to give training, qualifications and life skills in administration, estate management, customer service and workshop skills –

left An adult art class in life drawing taking place in the studio at Limnerslease, 2012, photograph by Anne Purkiss

all transferable to a range of workplaces so increasing the employability of the participants. These traineeships will be filled by referral from the Art for All programme partners including Street Level Arts, Surrey Youth Support Services, HMP Send, Skillway and Cellar Arts. These partners will ensure that those with potential and real need, such as young people out of education and employment, offenders on day release and those at risk of offending, individuals recovering from mental ill health and those dealing with homelessness, will gain on-the-job experience increasing their options and supporting their life chances. I feel extremely lucky to be working at Watts Gallery. As well as enjoying getting to know the current spaces across this important heritage site and learning the stories attached to them, I am excited about watching Limnerslease progress. Returning the Watts’s studio to its former glory, making the Artists’s Village complete, bringing benefits for visitors, staff, the Gallery and collection, and ensuring that the Art for All ethos continues from strength to strength into the future. Laura Phillips is the maternity cover for Helen Hienkens-Lewis, Head of Learning. She joins us for a one-year secondment from the British Museum.


A DICKENS PREVIEW: THE CROSSING SWEEPER BY WILLIAM POWELL FRITH Mark Bills, Curator of Watts Gallery left William Powell Frith, The Crossing Sweeper, 1893, oil on canvas. Museum of London

account for its popularity we have to acknowledge the painting’s Dickensian associations.

Forthcoming exhibition Dickens and the Artists features a number of great Victorian paintings including William Powell Frith’s The Crossing Sweeper (1858, Museum of London), a masterpiece of everyday life in mid-Victorian London which strongly and consciously evokes the world and characters of Dickens. Crossing sweepers were a common sight on nineteenth26

century London streets, when a large amount of horse-drawn vehicles meant that crossing the road could be particularly hazardous and that sweepers provided a service to the more affluent. Even though it was only a small cabinet painting it was hugely popular and Frith painted several versions, a print was produced and even a mass produced ceramic figure. To fully

The crossing sweeper became well known particularly through the characterization of Jo in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House (1852-3) who as a crossing sweeper has his own ‘broomwalk’: “He goes to his crossing, and begins to lay it out for the day… Jo fights it out, at his crossing, among the mud and wheels, the horses, whips, and umbrellas, and gets a scanty sum…”. We have at once a street archetype transformed into a human being, deftly painted with all the irony and sentiment that Dickens had so poignantly described in Bleak House. I shall be particularly pleased to see this painting at Watts Gallery as it feels like an old friend, I purchased it at auction for the Museum of London in 2003. Dickens and the Artists, 19 June 28 October 2012, Watts Gallery

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Dante Gabriel rossetti (1828–1882) The Salutation of Beatrice, 1869 oil on canvas £1,000,000 –1,500,000

Victorian & British Impressionist Pictures London, King Street • 31 May 2012




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Watts Magazine Issue 14  

Magazine issue 14. Fiona MacCarthy on Burne-Jones and Watts and Mark Bills on 'The Hall of Fame Portraits'.

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