A clue, it’s not in Surrey Heath, though is in Surrey. Answer later today. [Click on image to enlarge]. See complete answer below.
There’s one reader that I seem never to beat, and it’s Speedicus Triplicatum – see his comments below.
The artwork can be seen on an east facing oustide wall at Watts Gallery in Compton. It’s entitled Daughters of Theia by Mary Branson, artist in residence at Watts Gallery. You can read all about the artwork HERE.
The saving and restoration of the Watts Gallery at Compton, Surrey is surely one of the great stories in art history.
Mary Seton Watts
The Gallery, having slipped into serious disrepair, through the energies and dedication of the trustees and staff was refurbished after a £10million restoration, the Watts Gallery opened to the public. The list of benefactors [see photo below] displays the extent of the fundraising efforts.
The continuation of the restoration projects now extents to the restoration of the studios of G F Watts and Mary Seton Watts at their home, Limnerlease. Rachel Cooke in the New Statesman – Byzantium baked in Surrey: the extraordinary legacy of Mary Seton Watts, writes,
Now more change is afoot. Five years ago, Limnerslease, long in private ownership, was bought by Watts Gallery. Stage one of its restoration is almost complete. Later this month, the studios of both Watts and his wife will open to the public for the first time – at which point, perhaps, Mary Seton Watts will at last begin to enjoy a little of the recognition she deserves.
We’ve visited Watts Gallery and enjoyed a guided tour of part of Limnerlease, see photos below. We’ll certainly be keen to revisit, to experience more of the artists studios of which we were only able to see a small part in our earlier visit. The Watts Studios are open from today.
Often the places of interest close by are the ones not visited, and so it is with the Watts Gallery, at Compton, near Guildford. We corrected that by visiting the gallery on Tuesday this week.
George Frederic Watts RA OM (1817-1904) was a celebrated painter and portraitist of his day. The gallery contains over a 100 of his paintings and sculptures on permanent display at the gallery. Watts principal home, artist studio and gallery was Little Holland House, Kensington in London. A visit to friends in Compton in 1889 confirmed the desire of Watts and his artist wife, Mary, to escape London winters, and its associated poor light. In 1891 the Watts’ moved into Limnerslease, their purpose built Arts and Crafts style house and studio in Compton. This was followed in 1903 by the creation of a purpose-built art gallery at Compton to display of Watts’ works, which were transferred from the gallery at Little Holland House.
Enough of the history. The complex of buildings at Compton associated with Watts, the Watts Gallery, Limnerslease house, and the Watts Chapel, offer an insight into the life and artistic passions of both George and Mary Watts. Renovated in 2011, the Watts Gallery provides outstanding facilities to view and understand Watts’ work, not forgetting that visitors need refreshments, which is equally as good. All in all, it’s a little gem. Here are some images from our visit.