Thursday, 10 November 2011

G F Watts in Brighton

31 Sussex Square
The artist George Frederick Watts, 1817 to 1904, was a frequent winter visitor to Brighton in the 1880's, where he worked on his famous painting "The Court of Death" (see earlier post). 

His wife Mary, designer & potter, 33 years his junior, wrote; "‘After much consideration we settled the question where to spend the winter by taking a house at Brighton. There was the advantage of a well-lighted studio, built for a picture-gallery, large enough to take in his big painting of the " Court of Death", and as many others as he wished to have there. His doctor knew and recommended this house, and to 31 Sussex Square we went on November 1. A big platform was built up in this studio to make it possible for him to work upon the " Court of Death." When he went into that room to find that these preparations had been made, his feeling seemed to be a sort of despair at the amount of work that still remained undone."

G F Watts' reputation, like that of other Victorian artists underwent something of a decline through much of the 20th Century but now seems to be in the ascendant. 31 Sussex Square would seem to be a prime candidate for a blue plaque. 

With thanks to Mark Bills, Curator, Watts Gallery

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