Posted 13th March 2013
Watts Contemporary Gallery
Kids in Museums volunteer Maggie Monteath has been a freelancer at Watts Gallery since its recent restoration. Last week she went as a visitor...
A family outing to a gallery that only exhibits the work of a now not so famous Victorian artist may not sound like the most exciting day out but you’ll find that Watts Gallery are becoming more family friendly by the moment.
Look out for ‘Children’s Days’ in the school holidays when drawing paper will be spread all over the floor for young visitors to practice their art skills. Alternatively check out their family and children’s workshops – some of these are free.
Make sure you ask for a drawing kit on the way in. It includes a useful trail to guide you round. Near the portraits (look out for an unfinished one of Florence Nightingale) there’s a painting of a baby that will make everyone smile. You could spin a story around ‘Sea Ghost’ and there are plenty of clues about Victorian fashions in the collection. Teenagers may well be fascinated by the allegorical paintings. It could be fun for them to make up their own interpretation and compare it with Watts’ ideas.
Head downstairs and you’ll find a temporary exhibition. Currently it features a lesser known Pre-Raphaelite. I liked the paintings of fairytale knights and their ladies. From there you can access my favourite part, the Sculpture Gallery. I never tire of walking in there and being confronted by the back end of the massive horse that is called Physical Energy. It never fails to make me smile and engages many a small child. Lots of Watts’ art props are in there too – including the death masks and plaster casts of limbs that helped him get anatomical details right but now make quite a macabre display.