Friday, October 24, 2014
Watts Mortuary Chapel (above) is a beautiful Grade I listed building in Compton, Surrey. Designed by artist and sculptor George Frederic Watts' wife, Mary Watts, it was built at the height of the Arts and Craft movement, between 1896 and 1898. Involving all the village residents in Watts, it's a gem of a chapel with highly decorative art nouveau and celtic influences. Aldous Hexley is buried in the chapel grounds. Near the chapel in Compton is the Watts Gallery, a charming builiding housing hundreds of Watt's paintings and sculptures. Opened in 1904, it was Britain's first gallery to be dedicated to one individual artist.
Many of Watts' symbolist paintings can be seen in the Tate gallery in London but it's his Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman's Park near St Paul's that remains his most moving testimony. Its wall of tiles tells the tales of 'ordinary' people who lost their lives saving others. Some of the tiles are designed by Willem de Morgan (including the one below) and later ones by Royal Doulton.