Art Group Visit to Watts Gallery

The Art group was blessed with a beautiful summer day in June to visit the Watts Gallery and Artists Village near Guildford.

After an hour’s driving by minibus we arrived and took a short walk, before being greeted and given maps and a talk on what we could see during our day visit. 

The Arts and Crafts Village has a gallery devoted to the work of George Frederic Watts, together with two other exhibition areas. The house, named Limnerslease, is the purpose-built home and studios of George and his wife Mary, and nearby is the Watts Chapel which is a fine example of her work. Unfortunately, the previous day, a bus had backed into the Lych Gate. Due to the damage caused, we were not allowed access to the church, for health and safety reasons.

We stayed together for the tour of the Limnerslease house and studios which gave us a wonderful insight into the work of both George, and especially Mary Watts, who worked mostly in the fields of the British Art Nouveau style: bas-reliefs, pottery, metalwork, and textiles. It was she who designed, built, and maintained the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton and also built and maintained the Watts Gallery for the preservation of her husband’s work.

The group spent the remainder of the day exploring as they wished but coming together for lunch.

The special exhibition at the time of our visit was an amazing collection of clay sculptures by Halina Cassell. She had collected clay from all over the world and made similar, but different, small intricate sculptures for the exhibition. We very much enjoyed the exhibiton.

The day ended with most of us browsing the lovely things on offer in the shop before the return journey with our trusty driver Robert Kemp.

Jane Leishman

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