Fodor's Expert Review Watts Gallery and Memorial Chapel

Guildford Museum/Gallery Fodor's Choice

An extraordinary small museum, the Watts Gallery was built in tiny Compton in 1904 by the late-19th-century artist George Frederic Watts (1817–1904) to display his work. His romantic, mystical paintings have been somewhat rediscovered in recent years (not least by Barack Obama, who counts Watts's 1886 painting Hope as one of his favorite works of art). A marvellously higgeldy-piggeldy studio displays his sculptures, which are astonishing both for their size and the near-obsessive attention to detail. However, for all his skill and popularity, he has critics who contend that his artistic talent was eclipsed by that of his wife. Follow the signposted walk to the Watts Memorial Chapel, less than ½ mile from the museum in the village, and you may just become one of them. Mary Watts (1849–1938), virtually unknown as an artist both then and now, designed this tiny chapel. It is a true masterpiece of art nouveau style, from the intricately carved redbrick exterior to the jaw-dropping... READ MORE

An extraordinary small museum, the Watts Gallery was built in tiny Compton in 1904 by the late-19th-century artist George Frederic Watts (1817–1904) to display his work. His romantic, mystical paintings have been somewhat rediscovered in recent years (not least by Barack Obama, who counts Watts's 1886 painting Hope as one of his favorite works of art). A marvellously higgeldy-piggeldy studio displays his sculptures, which are astonishing both for their size and the near-obsessive attention to detail. However, for all his skill and popularity, he has critics who contend that his artistic talent was eclipsed by that of his wife. Follow the signposted walk to the Watts Memorial Chapel, less than ½ mile from the museum in the village, and you may just become one of them. Mary Watts (1849–1938), virtually unknown as an artist both then and now, designed this tiny chapel. It is a true masterpiece of art nouveau style, from the intricately carved redbrick exterior to the jaw-dropping painted interior. You could easily spend half an hour trying to decode all the symbolism and allegory woven meticulously into the gilded walls. The museum is 3 miles south of Guildford. If you only have time for one, choose the chapel over the museum.

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Museum/Gallery Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Down La.
Compton, Surrey  GU3 1DQ, England

01483-810235

www.wattsgallery.org.uk

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Museum £7.50; chapel free, Museum £11.50; chapel free, Closed Mon. except holidays

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