Crown Fine Art worked with the Watts Gallery in Compton near Guildford to bring the establishment back to its former glory, in preparation for its official reopening by Prince Charles in May.
The Watts Gallery is the only purpose-built art gallery for a single professional artist (George Frederic Watts) and until its recent restoration, its outlook was bleak.
Thanks to the Watts Gallery Hope Restoration project, the Heritage Lottery Fund, viewers of BBC Restoration Village and the generosity and commitment of many people, the gallery has undergone an £11 million restoration, lasting two and a half years.
At the time of his death, George Frederic Watts was regarded as one of the best artists Britain had ever produced. He painted huge pictures, created enormous sculptures, and the great and the good of the Victorian age; Tennyson, Arnold, Mill, Gladstone and Carlyle, were all painted by him. The Watts gallery opened in 1904 - the year of Watts’ death – and it was the brainchild of his devoted second wife, Mary Watts.
As part of the restoration work Crown Fine Art moved paintings and sculptures that hadn’t been touched since the gallery’s opening in 1904. We also provided a temporary store for some of the works, including two of the gallery’s most famous works, the monumental models of ‘Physical Energy’ and the 12ft Tennyson sculpture.
Working with the Watts Gallery on this long-term removal and restoration project was both challenging and also hugely rewarding.