Watts Gallery Artists’ Village

Watts Gallery Artists’ Villiage

Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village is an art gallery in the village of Compton, near Guildford in Surrey.

George Frederic Watts OM, RA (1817 – 1904) was widely considered to be the greatest painter of the Victorian era. A portraitist, sculptor, landscape painter and symbolist, Watts’s work embodied the most pressing themes and ideas of the time, earning him the title England’s Michelangelo.

Mary Watts (née Fraser Tytler) (1849-1938) married G F Watts in 1886 beginning a strong artistic partnership. Mary Watts was a renowned designer in her own right, founder of the Compton Pottery (1900) and creator of Watts Chapel which is a Grade I listed Arts & Crafts building.

Watts Curtain

Watts Studio Curtain

Pure Cotton Large Scale Tissue

The Watts Studios is a fully restored museum space, the home of G F and Mary Watts. The Studios opened in January 2016, bringing back the vision of Art for All and giving visitors a taste of the working studio.

There was one key element of the room missing, the large scale Watts studio curtain; where the only surviving evidence was a black and white photograph; the large scale curtain of the south facing windows.

The gallery had the photograph analysed by the V&A who believed the design was 19th Century, possibly originating from Sri Lanka and most likely printed. Unable to find a print studio to take on the scale of the redraw Humphries Weaving became involved to recreate the Watts studio curtain to finish the room restoration.

From the black and white photograph we were able to analyse that there was a large single placement motif (palm) that had a smaller scale boarder around the edges and then a further plain fabric at the top and foot of the curtain.  Working out proportions in relation to other objects in the room Natalie Jones set about undertaking the large scale redraw- at this time the largest single repeat that we had woven at 1.2 metres wide and 3.6 metres in length.

We undertook research into Sri Lanken textiles of the period and decided on a colour palette of green and rusty red for the weave which also worked well in the restored room and alongside the artists colour palette.

Project References: 3018