Watts Gallery Library & Archive

Watts Gallery Library

Bringing together publications and theses on all aspects of the life and work of the Wattses and their circle, the library is an excellent resource centre as well as a tranquil place to learn more about the art of the time. There are publications focusing on prominent themes in 19th century art including periodicals, journals and catalogues such as The English Illustrated Magazine, Art Journal and Burlington Magazine.

Highlights include an A-Z of Victorian artists, a gift from the late Christopher Wood, an auctioneer, art dealer and author who devoted his career to promoting the arts and artists of the Victorian period.

The library has two reading rooms; the John George Archive Room and the Seminar Room.

Readers can access the complete library catalogue online here.

Watts Gallery Archive

The archive at Watts Gallery includes letters, photographs, diaries, sketchbooks and over 800 drawings created by G F and Mary Watts during their lifetime and which remained in their possession until Mary's death in 1938.

There are also records of Watts Gallery from its foundation in 1904, the wills of the Wattses, the papers of Joseph Gillot (a major 19th century art collector), musical instruments and precious stones.

The photographs include the Rob Dickins Collection of over 4000 photographs and manuscript letters relating to leading Victorian cultural figures. There are prints of paintings, albums containing over 1000 photographs, as well as approximately 800 glass plate negatives. Other highlights of the archive include:

The history of Watts Gallery
Records of the Watts Gallery Trust
Compton village
Oral history records
Historical record of Watts Cemetery Chapel
Historical record of the Compton Pottery


The archive and library are accessible by appointment only. Where possible please declare what material is required so that it can be retrieved in advance. Readers are able to use their own laptops and devices and can connect to the internet.

Photocopying facilities are also available at a charge. Due to the vulnerable nature of some of the books and materials, photocopying will not be available in all instances.

Please email our team on assistantcurator@wattsgallery.org.uk.