#DirectorsRoundUp: March

Book Tickets

Posted 30th March 2018

Director's Round Up

As is often the case with my Director's Round Up, I begin by saying that March has been a busy month for us here at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village. The past four weeks have seen the opening of our new exhibition, A Pre-Raphaelite Collection Unveiled: The Cecil French Bequest, featuring an array of later Pre-Raphaelite paintings and drawings, including important works by Frederic Leighton, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John William Waterhouse, Edward Burne-Jones and Albert Moore. Held in collaboration with Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council, this exhibition brings their unique and 'forgotten' collection back into the spotlight where it belongs. Visitor numbers to the exhibition have been strong, and feedback very encouraging.

We were honoured to be joined by para-equestrian Sophie Christiansen, CBE for the Private View of our Watts Contemporary Gallery exhibition, Horses in Art Reimagined, during which she talked movingly of her campaign to reach the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (more information on our website).

On International Women's Day we hosted a series of talks by leading academics and experts, including Sarah Hardy of the De Morgan Foundation and Dr Lucy Ella Rose of the University of Surrey. To celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act in 1918 – which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time – visitors could participate in a wonderful array of craft making activities at Watts Studios and in our Clore Learning Studio. The book launch for Lucy Ella Rose's new publication, Suffragist Artists in Partnership, took place in the evening, during which we heard readings from her new book on the creative partnerships of the Wattses and their friends, William and Evelyn De Morgan.

That week also saw the opening of our new display, Mary Watts: Pioneering Suffragist, which presents photographs, newspaper clippings, and other artefacts alongside new research to explore Mary Watts as a figurehead of non-militant feminism in her community.

As April rears into view and the days begin to draw longer I am reminded of a line that famed poet and Pre-Raphaelite thinker Christina Rossetti once wrote: 'There is no time like Spring, When life's alive in everything'. This, coupled with last week's World Poetry Day has reminded me of the exciting year ahead, ending as it does with our much-anticipated Christina Rossetti exhibition in November. There is much to look forward to in the meantime though, not least our summer exhibition, James Henry Pullen: Inmate - Inventor - Genius, which opens in June. Easter, too, is now just around the corner, and our Easter Holiday activities are set to be a fun-filled time of making and creativity.

We very much look forward to welcoming you to Watts Gallery – Artists' Village over the coming weeks.

Alistair Burtenshaw
Director, Watts Gallery – Artists' Village