Watts Studios welcomes its first visitors

Posted by Anna Wili on 26 Jan 2016, 2 p.m.

Angela and Robert Emuss from Headlingley, near Oxshott were the first visitors to our newly opened Watts Studios this morning.

' I had visited the Gallery before but was prompted by a BBC Surrey face book post that popped up in my feed, to visit today. I am keen to see more of Mary Watts and her exquisite Watts Chapel', said Angela

At Watts Gallery - Artists' Village we had been putting in place the finishing touches throughout January and it was an exciting moment as our first visitors walked up the winding path through the newly landscaped woodland and entered the restored and remodelled Studios in the East Wing of Limnerslease – the artists' former home.

This is a space where you can immerse yourself in the past, experience the G F Watts Studio as it would have been – right down to the smell of crushed pigments mixed with poppy and linseed oil, varnish and petroleum, and see Watts's last major work The Court of Death (c.1870–1902, Tate), on loan from Tate, displayed upon a recreation of the original pulley system designed by the artist to allow him to work upon the vast canvas in its entirety.

In The Mary Watts Gallery you can learn about the techniques Mary Watts used to create the Grade-1 listed Watts Chapel, an Arts and Crafts masterpiece designed by Mary and realised through a community arts project in the last decade of the 19th century.

'To see this for the first time is just gorgeous' commented Angela as she stood within The Mary Watts Gallery.

The Compton Gallery shares the story of the Wattses in the village of Compton, from the commissioning of Limnerslease – now the last remaining artists' house and studio by illustrious Arts and Crafts architect, Ernest George – to the foundation of Watts Gallery, the only purpose built art gallery in the UK dedicated to a single professional artist.

And having immersed yourself in the Watts Studios you can wander back down the winding path and along the lane to the unique Watts Chapel and back to the Galleries to visit both the permanent collections and also the fascinating Brothers in Art exhibition, which is open until 19 February 2016.

Finally a visit to our famous Tea Shop to enjoy a well-deserved cup of tea, fresh home cooked food and delicious cakes.

We look forward to welcoming you to Watts Gallery – Artists' Village in 2016