Nova India at the Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey

Exciting news from the Watts Gallery as it goes from strength to strength. George Frederick Watts (1817-1904) a Pre-Raphaelite painter, friend of Whistler and one of the most forward looking artists of his generation, set up a studio in Compton, where he painted for most of his 70 years. His wife Mary, a leading proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement set up a pottery studio and inspired the village to build a unique chapel. The Watts Gallery undertook a huge restoration over the past few years after gaining funding and is now known as “a national gallery in the heart of a village”. After two very successful shows this summer, by local artist De Morgan, followed by the pictures of Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, the gallery is raising funds to purchase ‘Limnerslease’, the house of Frederick and Mary Watts, next door. I was fortunate to have a tour of the old house this week on one of my regular stops to re stock our scarves at the gift shop. Luckily many of the original features of the house survive, such as Mary’s plaster ceilings depicting spiritual symbols from across the globe and the forces of nature. The house will undergo a full restoration over time as funds are raised. If you haven’t visited the gallery I highly recommend it as a great day out. The next exhibition is the work of Frank Holl - “Emerging from the shadows ” 18th June until 3rd November. Visit the gallery and artist in residence, walk to Mary Watts’ unique, Arts and Crafts cemetery chapel in the lovely old graveyard nearby, find out about her pottery from the village of Compton then relax in the quaint tea room. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop for lovely art books and gifts, including our silk stoles and jackets!

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