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Patrons Visits to the British Museum and Munstead Wood

Posted 22nd August 2017
Watts Contemporary Gallery

by Aly Warner, Patrons Coordinator

In April 2017 Patrons of Watts Gallery – Artists' Village were given exclusive, rare access to a wide selection of G F Watts's compelling drawings during a private visit hosted by Curatorial Fellow Dr Beatrice Bertram to the Prints & Drawings Study Room at the British Museum. As part of our Watts 200 events programme, Dr Bertram talked in enthusiastic detail about the various, fascinating works, which she personally selected and are not normally on public display.

More recently, a glorious sunny day in May greeted Patrons on a private tour of the beautiful Grade I listed gardens of Munstead Wood, led by the head gardener, Annabel Watts. Located in the grounds of a house near Godalming that was designed by a young Edwin Lutyens, it was famously home to the celebrated Victorian horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll.

Completed in the 1880s — and visited by both G F and Mary Watts — the gardens, which have undergone careful restoration, are now privately owned. With the aid of original photographs and garden drawings, Annabel's expert insights into Jekyll's horticultural ideas, as well as her surprising entrepreneurial talents, were both a revelation and inspiration to all the keen gardeners present.

During the visit Patrons were also kindly invited to pass next door through a connecting gate to the renowned private garden of Gail Naughton, a key member of our gardening volunteers team at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village. Her house and garden, 'The Quadrangle' — formerly Jekyll's garden nursery and stable yard area — still contain many features established by the celebrated garden designer, including experimental borders of iris and lupin, especially designed for the month of June, which were in beautiful full bloom.