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#DirectorsRoundUp: January

Posted 28th January 2018
Watts Contemporary Gallery

Director's Round Up
January 2018

January has started at quite a pace with the main galleries hosting our 2018 exhibition, George Frederic Watts: Protest, Progress, Prophecy, which includes four works from G F Watts's 'Hall of Fame' series on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. In our temporary exhibition galleries, Helen Allingham has continued to draw in large numbers of visitors; in Watts Contemporary Gallery, Diana Croft: Colour Pattern Texture has been a great success and like Helen Allingham speaks to the landscape and allure of the North Downs in which Watts Gallery – Artists' Village is located. In Watts Studios, Mary Watts's Heartsease is now on display, together with a number of works never before shown together in this space.

January saw our first Quarterly Volunteer Meeting of the year, a chance for collective creativity as we explored how the Artists' Village will develop in the future, particularly with regard to Limnerslease, the Arts & Crafts home of our founding artists. Across the Artists' Village our new Curators of Landscape – Nicky Webber and Colin Mundy – have been hard at work with our volunteer team of Cultural Gardeners, taking advantage of the bare roots season for some new planting across the site.

Behind the scenes we are preparing for A Pre-Raphaelite Collection Unveiled: The Cecil French Bequest; our de Laszlo Conservator, Sally Marriott, is now carefully restoring a number of works ahead of this exciting exhibition, which opens on 6th March. At the same time, preparations continue for our exhibitions on James Henry Pullen and Christina Rossetti, both of which will, I am sure, cast new light on their subjects, providing a deeper context for Pullen's working practices, influences and inspirations as well as Rossetti's impact on artists and audiences alike.

Meanwhile, our magnificent new bronze of G F Watts's sculptural masterpiece of horse and rider, Physical Energy, continues its residency at the Royal Academy of Arts. Seeing this beautifully fluid sculpture captured in lights for the London Lumiere festival (as pictured above), and as a feature as guests arrived for the Private View of the RA's superb new exhibition, Charles I: King and Collector, reminded me just how wonderful the sculpture will look in daytime and at night when it is installed alongside the A3 at Compton - a project we hope to realise in the early summer.

Alistair Burtenshaw
Director, Watts Gallery – Artists' Village