Adopt a Watts: Spotlight

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Posted 1st February 2019

Adopt a Watts: Spotlight

Ron & Jane Cork

The Adopt a Watts scheme allows you to adopt a drawing, painting, sculpture or artefact as a way to support the long term care of our collection. Adoptions can mark the celebration of a wedding anniversary or birthday, the memory of a loved one, or perhaps just a special connection felt towards a particular piece.

Below, long-time Friends of the gallery, Ron and Jane Cork, explain why they chose to adopt two works from the Watts Collection.

G F Watts, Seen From a Train, 1899, oil on canvas

Adopted by Ron Cork

Ron was drawn to Seen from a Train as he was a Guildford to London Commuter for over 30 years on the same line (but post the steam train era!) as the Watts' were using to travel from London to Guildford, and then onto Compton, in the 1890s and early 1900s.

Hence the painting of the blurred Surrey countryside glimpsed from the moving train, which is so appropriately hung in the Compton Gallery - a Gallery which tells the story of the Wattses and Compton, and how they came and went between the country and London is showcased in this Seen from the Train.

Railways had transformed 19th century England and allowed access to rural areas and this painting, once one knows the background, illustrates this well.

The title is also interesting as it is somewhat unlike a Watts title - you might expect the painting to be titled Scene from a Train. Seen from a Train sounds, to me, very 20th century and so once again G F Watts was forward thinking with the title of this work, which was painted just before the turn of the century in 1899.

Pilgrim Mug (Compton Pottery), 1936, clay and paint

Adopted by Jane Cork

Jane is drawn to the notion of life being a pilgrimage and the mug shows the figure of St Nicholas on a Pilgrim's Way. She also has a fondness for John Bunyan's, The Pilgrim Progress, a significant and influential novel written over 350 years ago and which, one would like to think, Mary Watts would have read.

Mary, of course, designed the Pilgrim's Cross situated in the grounds of Limnerslease, the former home of G F and Mary Watts.

Furthermore, Jane feels strongly that under the “Adopt a Watts" initiative, as many of Mary's works should be adopted as George's works, in proportion to the number of works up for adoption under the programme.