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Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale and Big Issues Exhibition

Posted 25th February 2013
Watts Contemporary Gallery

The Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale exhibition currently on show at Watts Gallery, opened by the great niece of the artist herself, brought home the continuity of Watts’s influence over the generations. Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale was heavily influenced and admired by Watts and her work spans the 19th and 20th century. As a donor to Watts Gallery commented this weekend, it is fascinating to see small jewel-like exhibitions which provide a new insight into the 19th Century. The private view was shared with the opening of The Big Issues Exhibition which opened in the Old Pottery Exhibitions Gallery at the Watts Gallery Estate. Here there are moving tales of the impact of art in transforming lives, those of prisoners, young offenders, reformed drug users and the homeless. The most powerful aspect is that despite their personal challenges they have created a work of art which is now on show and for sale. We have sold 12 items already. The exhibition is going on to be seen in the foyer of KPMG, the founding sponsor of Watts Gallery’s Big Issues project, opening 19 March – 12 April, and then to Guildford Cathedral 15 – 26 April. Don’t miss these exhibitions!

As the crocuses spring up in the garden of Watts Gallery, and the evenings lengthen casting wonderful shadows on the terra cotta Clytie in the sunken courtyard, we can start to look forward to the completion of the refurbishment of the Old Kiln and the opening of a new group dining space, and new toilets! We hope that at Easter, families, visitors, walkers, tourists, cyclists and everyone will enjoy a more spacious area to enjoy the largest piece of cake in the South East, and the best welsh rarebit in England!

Yesterday, the Development Manager, Stephanie Dennison announced a further grant of support from the John S Cohen Foundation to support our efforts to buy Limnerslease, the Watts house and studios. Every gift reaffirms the importance and the urgency to ensure that this, the last house and studio designed by the great Arts & Crafts architect, Ernest George, and the last 19th-century artist’s studio with its collection still in tact, is not lost for future generations. We are so grateful for this generosity and thank all our volunteers, donors, neighbours and Friends who make it possible to continue to offer innovative exhibitions, a far reaching learning programme and life changing opportunities for excluded groups.