At last I am writing this blog from Watts Gallery
At last I am writing this blog from Watts Gallery. This is quite a step forward. The staff team has occupied the flat above the apprentice potter's games room, which has now become the Exhibitions Gallery. The flat looks out over the front of Watts Gallery to view the woodland across Sandy Lane (Pilgrim's Way) which has been cleared by a wonderfully committed group of volunteers, who gave a further Saturday this weekend to reveal the fine tall oaks and beeches. The tynecastle wallpaper and the replica wall paper is carefully being dyed to a rich red. Last week we received a visit from the Director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis, who remarked on the fact that the Watts Galleries at Tate Britain had also been adorned in this rich red wallpaper. Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of being in residence in Watts Gallery is when one leaves the building at night. At present, all there is of the collection sharing the building is Tennyson, Physical Energy and Bishop Lonsdale. As one leaves through the side door, and glimpses in to see this great figures and monumental models, it is uplifting and reminds one of the reason for saving Watts Gallery and the passion of one's commitment.
We have been honoured to host three consultations on the proposed acquisition of Watts's home and studio, Limnerslease. We have received over 150 people in total representing the local community, local authorities, donors and heritage organisations. Without exception, their desire is for Watts Gallery Trust to pursue this once in a lifetime opportunity! There were also most helpful pieces of advice and caution.
We have continued to have wonderful support from donors and volunteers in this final phase of the Watts Gallery Hope Project. Surrey County Council is considering ways to find support to close the gap on the Hope Emergency Appeal; a team of ten volunteers moved the whole library across the road to occupy the bespoke shelves in the John George Archive Study Room, and Veedon Fleece presented us with a replica of Mary Watts's pelican design carpet which she made for Liberty's. This will be enjoyed in the John George Archive Study Room. All these gifts of time, money and support make all the difference and have kept Hope alive
during this six-year project. Thank you.