Contact Us
Watts Gallery
Down Lane, Compton
Guildford, Surrey
GU3 1DQ, United Kingdom
T: 01483 810235
F: 01483 810285


Watts Gallery is a
registered Charity

Charity No. 313612

Trustees and Supporters
For information on Watts Gallery Trustees and Supporters click here

Our Cookie Policy
To read about cookies and
your privacy, click here

The Building of the Gallery

Before 1903 Watts had commissioned a number of leading architects to design buildings for him: Frederick Pepys Cockerell (1833–78) had created his home and studio, new Little Holland House, while George Aitchison (1825–1910) had produced its gallery extension; Philip Webb (1831–1915) had created The Briary, his house on the Isle of Wight; and Ernest George (1839–1922) had designed Limnerslease, his house in Compton. With the Watts Gallery, the artist selected a relatively unknown architect Christopher Hatton Turnor (1873–1940), who was living within a mile of Compton with his parents. Watts’s choice of Turnor reflected both his and Mary’s Arts and Crafts ethos in supporting a local man as well as an architect who would follow very clearly Watts’s ideas for the building. Turnor later recalled: ‘Dear old Signor asked me to build the picturegallery at Compton, & to keep it a simple & rural type of building.’ It was constructed in rendered concrete and Surrey tiles, and its foundation stone, a beautiful terracotta block, was laid by Watts on his eighty-sixth birthday, 23 February 1903.

The building was originally named the Hostel, referring to the
accommodation at each end, although the central section was consistently called the Watts Picture Gallery, a name adopted for the whole building when it reopened in 1906 after the addition of an extension. In 1904 the Surrey Advertiser wrote:

A little building in Compton which has been given the name of The Hostel… was designed to serve a double purpose: to provide a home for some of the young men and lads engaged in the terra-cotta pottery which Mrs Watts has successfully established at Compton.