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Spring at Watts Gallery: Directors Blog

Posted 13th May 2013
Watts Contemporary Gallery


My briefing to the new Curator, Nicholas Tromans, who is giving us a few days of meetings before starting officially in July, was that work at Watts Gallery is about ‘drains and dreams’.  One moment there is a crisis in the public conveniences, the next there is a brilliant breakthrough such as a grant from the Art Fund to support our dream to purchase Watts wonderful full-length painting, Countess Cork.  The importance is to not lose sight of the dreams.

A crew of us, the Architect, the Project Manager, the Curator, the Head of Learning and the Development Manager walked round whole Limnerslease Estate to come to grips with some of the challenges of Saving the Watts Studios project, it felt exciting starting to see the dream of bringing this house and collection back to life. The woodland was showing itself at its best with bluebells, primroses and lily of the valley on the point of bursting into flower.  The dream of having a horse in the field, something which Mary Watts was very keen on, is also coming one step nearer. 

We have had experts start to give us some advice about the recreation of the highly ornate curtain, which hung in the Watts studios, and also on how we might rediscover some wicker chairs owned by G.F and Mary Watts.  It would also be wonderful if we could receive more Mary Watts pots to adorn our potfield, the grounds around Limnerslease and the Watts Gallery Estate, as shown in past photographs. In June there is an exciting sale from the collection from Dunsborough Park, which includes some wonderful pots by Mary Watts  - dreams again!

Many people have commented on Watts Gallery having a family feel.  This is never more obvious than when one of members of this extending family decides to marry!  Last week, Alex Prince, Visitor Services Manager, married her partner Alex! Many of the staff and volunteers came to celebrate the joy of their union.

We are so grateful for the endless good will and support that we receive from donors, Friends, volunteers and stewards.  We could not manage without them. The most pleasing moment came recently when we attended the local Compton annual meeting in the village hall.  Two people made an effort to come to express their huge enjoyment and pleasure at being able to attend the monthly terracotta modeling class organised by the Pottery Apprentice in the Foyle Art for All Learning Studio.  Mary Watts got this right.  We are just following her dream.