Watts 200: Celebrating England's Michelangelo

Colour. Cosmos. Celebrity.

G F Watts (1817-1904) — outstanding painter, talented sculptor, famed draughtsman and muralist, philanthropic visionary — England's Michelangelo.

Watts 200 is a one-off programme of exciting exhibitions and events celebrating 200 years since the birth of England's greatest Victorian artist.

Discover Watts's singular career in A Life in Art: G F Watts 1817-1904, brimming with his finest works on paper.

See the most celebrated of Watts's creations in two major exhibitions showcasing his unparalleled portraits, grand Symbolist paintings, works of social realism, sculptures and colossal murals. Join us for a thrilling season of music, theatre, conferences and more.

G F Watts: England's Michelangelo

20 June - 26 November 2017

Enjoy G F Watts at his finest in this long-awaited exhibition of his most striking works from the UK and abroad. A complete rehang, see the historic galleries transformed in our most ambitious exhibition of Watts's work, exploring colour, cosmos and celebrity.

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Monumental Murals

28 February - 5 November 2017

An acknowledged master of paintings, sculpture and drawing, Watts is renowned for the diverse scope of his work. For the first time ever, see two rediscovered Watts masterpieces of an awe-inspiring scale. These colossal murals confirm Watts's reputation as a true artistic genius.

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Programme of the Watts 200 anniversary year

Discover our exciting programme of events on our What's On page.


'The exhibition is a fitting tribute to Watts from a twenty-first-century perspective. Seen by some as a flawed genius, his formal experimentations are too complex to allow simple dismissal according to Modernist values. The works of art displayed here not only celebrate Watts's endeavour to capture deep ideas in meaningful form, but also continue to offer inspiration to audiences today.'

Matthew C Potter, The Burlington Magazine, October 2017

'When one considers the simplistic moralising to be found in so many supposedly avant-garde works being made and exhibited right now, Watts does seem surprisingly contemporary.'
Edward Lucie-Smith, Artlyst, 6 July 2017

'The electrifying power of Watts... A huge figure in his Victorian heyday, George Frederick Watts is celebrated in a show of his greatest works, many on loan from around the world.'

Mark Hudson, The Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2017

'Exalted in his day - and without a hint of irony - as our homegrown Michelangelo, Watts is best known for his lurid symbolic dramas with a campaigning message.'

Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times, 10 June 2017

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