Posted 31st October 2017
G F Watts was an honest and open individual, an artist who believed firmly in the notion of Art for All.
But he did have one skeleton in the cupboard, namely this one at his and Mary’s former home, Limnerslease.
G F Watts kept this model skeleton in his home studio, now the newly restored Watts Studios, to use as a study in his large-scale portraits and symbolic works.
Though photography had emerged at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the use of photographic reference when drawing, painting, or sculpting was widely criticised or discouraged among artists. This is because of its tendency to produce "flat" images that fail to capture the dynamic aspects of the subject.
The skeleton on display at Watts Studios might only be a model, but the cupboard in which it is housed is original, and is understood to have been among George and Mary’s possessions when they first occupied Limnerslease in 1891.
When you next visit Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, make sure to keep an eye out for our skeleton. It might just make you look twice.