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Overseeing the Return of the Collection

Posted 3rd May 2011
Watts Contemporary Gallery


It has been some time since I have written a blog, so there is quite a lot to say. It has been a very busy time and has included the most nerve racking part of a Curator’s job, which is overseeing the return of the collection. It is nice to write knowing that they are either gracing the walls and cases of the newly restored gallery or safely in new storage. It has been a really exciting and, I have to say, quite an emotional time seeing the collection come back to the building it was designed for.

We have also seen major loans from the Tate Gallery enter the gallery and I feel that people who visit will get chance to see Watts at his very best. It was sad for me to hear how they found the gallery charming in its sedate decay but shame about the pictures. How wonderful to hear from those that have seen the newly restored gallery that the pictures look altogether fresh and can be seen in such a new and penetrating light. You might think that it is ironic that the building which is restored to its original glory is less spoken of than the collection, but that is because it is serving its function as the gallery it was intended back in 1903.

The paintings and sculpture have also gone through a lot of conservation which helps a lot and the design of the lighting has been quite excellent. It has been a real privilege and joy to be able to re-hang the Watts Gallery and my hope is that visitors will see what an important artist G F Watts was. He was not the isolated and rather mad eccentric hidden in rural Surrey, he was one of the greatest artists and innovators of his age. Come to Watts Gallery when we re-open in June and find out for yourselves.