Roundels unveiled of George and Mary Watts

Posted by Admin on 23 Jul 2014, 10:35 a.m.


Visitors to Watts Gallery will now also be able to see two completed terracotta roundels on the front of the Gallery. Sculpted by artist Marcus Cornish, the roundels show the faces of George and Mary Watts looking out over the Gallery lawn. 

The Roundels were unveiled on Wednesday 2nd July at a dinner hosted by Trustee and Benefactor Debby Brice. Actress Vivien Heilbron gave a performance of Shakespearean roles and played GF Watts’s first wife Ellen Terry, who is the focus of the Gallery’s current temporary exhibition, Ellen Terry: The Painter’s Actress (on show until 9th November).

Commenting, Marcus Cornish said:

'Initially I looked at as many different paintings and photographs my different artists that were available at Watts Gallery and from my own research.

I then made two little models which tried to find the character of the person I was portraying. Watts does come across as austere, pinched and small, but notably, self-consciously like Titian. This of course needed to be emphasised so that his manner presented from a distance.

Mary was made in the same way, looking at the commonalities from one picture to the next. This led me to create a pattern of the head. I wanted to recall the character of someone who called her husband Signor. Because of the convictions of someone so committed to her husband, she is skewed, not quite on centre, looking towards him. It also presented the opportunity to expose her neck in the same way that her husband was interested in for many of his paintings and sculptures.

Regarding the receding aspect: I was trying to give them as much drama as I could in a limited format, therefore they needed to be such deep roundels.

I used the terracotta because it is so complimentary to the building and resonant of the Arts & Crafts movement.'

More of Marcus's work can be seen on his website.

We are grateful to the Art Council for their generous support.