Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village is delighted to announce that it will start to re-open from the 6 July following the latest Government guidelines for the reopening of UK museums.
The reopening will be in four phases, enabling the introduction of Government-recommended measures across the site to ensure the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff. The four phases are:
6 July Reopening of Watts Contemporary Gallery and Watts Shop
The acclaimed exhibition Norman Ackroyd: Etching the Archipelago – featuring exquisite aquatint etchings by Britain’s foremost contemporary etcher – will re-open having only been open for a few weeks before closure. Admission to the exhibition is free, with work available for sale. Proceeds support Watts Gallery Trust’s Art for All learning and outreach programme.
3 August Reopening of the Historic Galleries and Tea Shop
These magnificent galleries, designed at the turn of the 20th century, showcase paintings by George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817-1904), who in his own lifetime was widely regarded as one of the greatest painters of the Victorian age. To aid social distancing, advance booking for timed admission will be essential via wattsgallery.org.uk
17 August Reopening of Unto this Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin and the Sculpture Gallery
Only open for one week before Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village had to temporarily close in response to Covid-19, this fascinating exhibition has been extended until 2 November. Featuring treasures from the collections at Yale University including the Yale Center for British Art, the exhibition explores the legacy of John Ruskin (1819 – 1900), one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century, and includes works by Ruskin, J.M.W. Turner, John Everett Millais, Edward Burne-Jones and other leading aritsts. The Sculpture Gallery was built in 1907 to display GF Watts’s sculpture collection and today visitors can see a fascinating assortment of anatomical models, écorché and preparatory studies including the monumental gesso models for Physical Energy and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Pre-booking for timed admission will be essential via wattsgallery.org.uk
Autumn 2020 Reopening of Limnerslease and Watts Studios
The Arts & Crafts artists’ house and studios of GF Watts and his wife, the artist and designer, Mary Watts (1849 – 1938). Here visitors can see the last surviving studio of GF Watts, restored as the artist left it, and Mary Watts’s exquisite decorations of their home. As these spaces are domestic in scale, social distancing currently presents a significant challenge. Watts Gallery Trust is working towards their safe reopening in the Autumn, pending Government guidance.
Watts Chapel will remain closed whilst it undergoes conservation. The project was able to continue during lockdown and is on schedule for imminent completion, when the Chapel will re-open to the public.
The Estate at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village – which is situated in the Surrey Hills designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – has been closed throughout the lockdown and will re-open now, free of charge.
Online tickets for the Historic Galleries and Unto this Last will go on public sale on Monday 20 July. Exhibition Circle, Patrons, Adopt a Watts and Friends of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village can benefit from early booking from Thursday 16 July. To facilitate social distancing, tickets will be available to purchase online and will no longer be available to purchase at the Visitor Centre.
Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, said: “We are thrilled to share our plans for reopening Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village which temporarily went into a state of sleep for lock-down. We will be gradually reawakening with reduced capacities and new social distancing procedures to ensure the safety and comfort of our visitors, volunteers, staff and local community. We want to thank everyone for their patience and continued support of our charity at this extraordinary time, and we are so looking forward to welcoming visitors back.”
Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village closed its doors temporarily on 19 March in response to the developing situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and public health guidance. The loss of income from visitor admissions, group tours, the shop, Tea Shop, commercial gallery and events as a result of this closure is anticipated to result in a deficit of at least £300,000 this year. The charity has launched a fundraising appeal, Hope 2020, and is seeking support:
For further information:
www.wattsgallery.org.uk @WattsGallery facebook/thewattsgallery
Photo: Andy Newbold