Watts GalleryEdit profile
Watts Gallery is an art gallery in the village of Compton in Surrey. It is dedicated to the work of Victorian era painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts. Watts moved to "Limnerslease" in Compton in 1891, and with his artist wife Mary Fraser-Tytler, planned a museum devoted to his work, which opened in April 1904, just before his death. The architect of the Gallery was Christopher Hatton Turnor, an admirer of Edwin Lutyens and C.F.A. Voysey. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, the building contains top-lit galleries that allow Watts's work to be displayed under natural light. It is one of few galleries in the UK devoted to a single artist, and has recently been marketed as "a national gallery in the heart of a village". The present director is Perdita Hunt and the curator is Mark Bills. Former curators include Wilfrid Blunt and Richard Jefferies (curator), one of the foremost authorities on Watts. Watts Gallery was placed second in the final of the BBC TV series Restoration Village in 2006. In December 2006 Watts Gallery received a £4.3 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for renovations to help safeguard the future of the building and its collections. The Gallery plans further fund-raising to reach the projected £10 million restoration costs. In January 2008 it was announced that the Gallery intends to deaccession and sell two Victorian paintings, Triumph of Love (1880) by Albert Joseph Moore and Sleeping Woman (1871) by Edward Burne-Jones. The money would be used to maintain the Gallery which is closed from September 2008 until 2010 for renovation. In June 2011 The Watts Gallery is set to reopen after a major scheme of works, including extension, refurbishment and restoration. This project was designed by ZMMA Architects. Compton's burial ground, nearby, houses GF Watts' remains and is dominated by an Italianate Mortuary Chapel, designed by Mary Watts.