In July a group from The Ipswich Society visited Watts Gallery, an artists' village near Guildford founded by the Victorian Symbolist artist G.F. Watts. We had a guided tour around the gallery to discover the diverse collection of works by George Frederic Watts (1819-1904). There were over 100 paintings and sculptures on display.
We then visited Limmerslease, the artist's home and one of the most celebrated Arts and Crafts houses in Surrey, designed by the famous architect Sir Ernest George. Watts lived here with his wife Mary (1839-1938) who designed the decorative gesso panels on the ceiling. While at the house we saw the studio where he painted and visited the modern extension with exhibitions of works by others including the De Morgan collection of ceramics.
We walked a short way up the lane to the chapel, entirely designed and built by Mary with help from the local people at Compton. This was a memorial chapel for the overflow graveyard from the parish church nearby. It is a Grade I Listed, Arts & Crafts masterpiece. The interior is a unique example of Art Nouveau and Celtic design. Nearby were the cloisters, beautiful terracotta stones and the memorial to G.F. Watts and Mary Watts.
Including morning coffee and lunch this proved to be a very interesting and enjoyable visit.