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'Honeycomb' feels like the right word for the experience of entering the historic galleries

Posted 16th December 2010
Watts Contemporary Gallery


'Honeycomb' feels like the right word for the experience of entering the historic galleries which are now fully lined with the parquet floor and where men have been working evenings and weekends putting on the dark honey coloured wax. With the artificial light, the returned red wall paper and the golden light from the ceiling and the arches, the vaulted ceilings and rounded arches, it feels like entering a honey catacomb - a honeycomb!

The snow has not helped. It has delayed work on the landscape, and the carpenters were not able to get near their workshop for days. Although the project completion date is tantalisingly close it is not yet within our grasp. However, as I said at the Site Update meeting, the Watts Gallery Hope Project has survived on hope.

This week we received a visit from a group of course directors from Sotheby's Education. I was delighted to hear them say that Watts really should be considered as a great master, indeed one of his nicknames was the Titian of Limnerslease.

It has been wonderful to come in to Great Studio on Wednesdays to see a whole group of volunteers working on the library and archive in preparation for the move. Every title will now be given a unique reference number and we are even lucky enough to have a fully trained librarian on our team. The only bad news is that we keep running out of milk!

Another heartening sight has been the knit and natter group which has formed in The Tea Shop. How Mary Watts would have been pleased to see the revival of this ancient craft, taking place with the community in her former pottery showroom. It feels like little green shoots of the original purpose of the Watts Gallery Estate are appearing and bringing back to the Watts legacy and the Arts and Crafts maxim of head, hand and heart.

All of this would not have been possible without the continuing support of such generous friends and donors. We were absolutely delighted to hear this week that the Community Fund for Surrey has generously supported our work with young offenders, and a member of the family of descendants of the Pattle family, great friends of the Wattses, has generously made a donation from their Grandfather's bequest. Thank you to you all. All this support is so vital right now as we strain to close the gap on our Hope emergency appeal. How wonderful it would be to hush that voice ever ringing in my head 'mind the gap'!

Happy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you in 2011!