Watts Gallery - Artists' Village seeks public support to site Watts's equestrian masterpiece in the public realm
by Kirsten Tambling, Artist's Studio Museum Network Administrator
Watts Gallery-Artists' Village have launched a crowdfunding campaign for support in the 'final push' to raise £25,000 to site a new cast of Watts's Physical Energy in a prominent location near the Gallery.
Watts began work on the sculpture — showing a man riding a rearing horse — in 1883, with the intention that it would represent 'human vitality'. He would work on it over many years; indeed, it has been suggested that it was the creation of his dedicated sculpture studio in his London home at Little Holland House, South Kensington, that spurred him on to begin the project.
The specially designed studio included a set of train-like rails which would allow Physical Energy to be rolled out into the garden for daylight work and rolled back in in the evenings or when it rained. Similar rails are still in situ in the Sculpture Gallery at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village, the artist's winter home.
The plaster model of Physical Energy was cast in bronze in 1902, making it the largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the country at that time.
After Watts's death, a posthumous cast was made and sited in Kensington Gardens, London. Watts Gallery - Artists' Village, based at the artist's winter home, are now seeking to place their own newly cast bronze statue in the Surrey hills. They hope it will stand as a landmark and beacon for creativity in the region in 2017, the year of the bicentenary of Watts's birth.
The public are invited to support the campaign through Art Happens, Art Fund's crowdfunding platform. In return for donations, donors will receive unique rewards, and visitors to the site during the campaign (running until 30 May) can enjoy a host of special events.
Support the campaign
To support the campaign, please visit the Art Happens website between 25 April and 30 May 2017 by clicking here.