Watts Gallery Trust announces four new appointments

Posted by Admin on 25 Mar 2013, 1:38 p.m.

The Watts Gallery Trust is announcing four new appointments. Nicholas Tromans will be the Gallery’s new Curator, Kara Wescombe is the new Head of Learning and MaryAnne Stevens and Sir Mark Jones have joined the Trust’s Board of Trustees. Through these new appointments, the Trust is seeking to extend its goal to establish Watts Gallery as an international centre for the study of Victorian art, social history, craft and design, enhancing all that has been achieved through the successful £10 million restoration which was generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and many Trusts, Foundations and individuals.

Nicholas Tromans is currently Senior Lecturer at Kingston University, London. Nicholas has worked previously at Sotheby’s and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham, and has worked with many museums including Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and most recently Tate Britain as a guest curator and consultant. Nicholas was the lead curator of the international touring exhibition, The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting. He has published widely on nineteenth-century British art, including books on Richard Dadd and on G.F. Watts’s Hope.

Kara Wescombe Blackman joins Watts Gallery from the V&A, where she worked as Head of Formal Education with responsibility for schools, further and higher education programmes and from 2008, as Head of Schools, Families & Young People. In these roles Kara developed, managed and delivered a wide range of programmes including the V&A+RIBA Architecture Education programme. Before joining the V&A, Kara was Head of Education at the Courtauld Gallery and Head of Schools & Families for Somerset House.

MaryAnne Stevens was the Director of Academic Affairs at the Royal Academy of Arts, with overall responsibility for the Collections, Library and Archive, and the Learning and Architecture programmes. A specialist in nineteenth-century art, MaryAnne also curates major loan exhibitions at the RA and is co-curator of the current Manet: Portraying Life exhibition. MaryAnne has overseen the delivery of the £4.1 million on-line Cataloguing Project for the Royal Academy’s Collection, Library and Archive, and directed public education programmes that have established the Royal Academy as a national and international centre of excellence.

Sir Mark Jones FRSE is Master of St Cross College, Oxford. He was Curator of Medals at the British Museum (1974-1992), Director of the National Museums of Scotland (1992-2001) and Director of the V&A (2001-11). He is a trustee of Birmingham Museums, Tullie House, the Bishop Auckland Trust, the Grimsthorpe and Drummond Trust and SCRAN. He is also a member of the Council of the Royal College of Art, the Oxford University Museums Board and the Board of the Department for Continuing Education.

Richard Ormond, Chairman of Watts Gallery Trustees, said:
“As we look to further our vision of establishing an Artist’s Village in Compton, we are delighted to welcome these new appointments to the Watts Gallery team. Their vast experience will help us to build on recent successes, maintain a programme of exhibitions of national interest, and develop the scholarship, appreciation and awareness of G F Watts and Mary Seton Watts ”
Nicholas Tromans said:
“I am thrilled to be joining Watts Gallery at this exciting moment in its history. Along with very many others I have been deeply impressed by what has been achieved with the revival of the gallery itself, and am looking forward to helping bring Limnerslease into the Trust's vision for the future recreation of an artist's village at Compton.”

Kara Wescombe said:
“I feel very privileged to be able to work with a clearly committed and energetic team of people to build on the foundations of such an inspiring artistic couple and look forward to welcoming visitors to this unique Artist’s village to participate in the Art for All learning programme."
MaryAnne Stevens said:

“I have been greatly impressed by the achievements of the director, past curator and Trustees in renovating and modernising the Watts Gallery. The challenges presented by these new facilities and by the acquisition of Limnerslease make this a very exciting time for the gallery. I am delighted and honoured to have been invited to serve as a trustee and as such, support the next phase in the gallery’s development.”

Sir Mark Jones said:
“Watts was a great artist and he and his wife had an original and sympathetic vision for their museum which is highly relevant today; so I am very pleased to join the Gallery's Trustees.”
Nicholas Tromans takes over from Mark Bills who was Curator of Watts Gallery from 2006. Mark Bills has been appointed Director of Gainsborough’s House.