Dawn's Journal

By DawnP

An Afternoon with the Watts

Today I immersed myself in the Arts and Crafts artistry of artists George Frederic and Mary Watts with a visit to the Watt's Gallery in Compton including their recently restored studio-home Limnerslease.

The walk up to the house, built for the Watts in 1891 (extra), passes a Celtic Cross created by Mary to mark the Pilgrims' Way, the route taken by Christian pilgrims from Winchester to Canterbury. The main image is composed of studies from the cross.

I completed my visit with a walk round the galleries, mainly showing the work of G. F. Watts and a display of works by William and Evelyn De Morgan, good friends of the Watts.  Although I have visited the site many times, mainly to see the chapel, my last visit inside the galleries was back in the early 2000's before its restoration in 2008-11. My recollection was of dreary dark paintings and shuffling round the galleries with crowds of people (probably why I have not been since!)  Today's visit was totally different. The galleries are now bright and modern, while retaining their Victorian and Edwardian feel, and most of the artwork has been cleaned to reveal the original colours and the artistry of Watts' work, including insights into how he worked. Even better, I was one of only a few visitors so had plenty of time and space to wander and admire.

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