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Watts Gallery Gets £75,000 from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation

Published on: 13 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 13 Dec, 2016

The beautiful interior of Watts Chapel where restoration work is needed (click photos to enlarge)

Watts Gallery has been awarded a £75,000 “challenge” grant by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The grant forms part of a £500,000 package of grants to 19 heritage projects, across the country.

Watts Chapel in Compton

The Watts Gallery Trust promotes the appreciation of Victorian artist G F Watts and ceramic artist Mary Seton Watts, and supports recognition of  the Compton area as a centre for Victorian art and social history.  The grant will be used to restore the renowned arts and crafts masterpiece Watts Chapel.

But the money has been offered as a “challenge grant”, so Watts Gallery will have to work to match the donation in order to release the funding.

According to a press statement from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Watts Gallery will be: “Preserving the unique artistic interiors of the chapel for future generations…”.

The £75,000 grant will contribute to the restoration of the chapel’s renowned gesso* panels and return the chapel to its original purpose to serve the community for burial and memorial services.

The restoration work will be undertaken by ten City & Guilds London School of Art students and graduates, providing them with invaluable conservation experience. They will work under the guidance of leading expert Patricia Jackson.

Perdita Hunt, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, says: “We are very grateful to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for awarding this challenge grant.”

Perdita Hunt OBE DL

“Designed by Mary Watts (1849 – 1938), the Grade I listed chapel has been recognised as ‘one of the most beautiful, extraordinary, original, marvellous and magical buildings in the whole of the British Isles!’. It has been awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence (2014) and was voted the second most popular attraction in Guildford.”

“But after many years of damage caused by rainfall, water leaks and high winds, the chapel is in urgent need of conservation and repair.”

“This challenge grant is a tremendous boost to the fundraising campaign that will secure the future of Watts Chapel.  Importantly, too, it will enable ten City & Guilds London School of Art students to gain practical experience in conservation, upholding Mary’s legacy by once again ensuring that the Chapel is a catalyst for learning and skills development.”

Watts made Compton famous for its pottery. Here is some of the terracotta decoration on the chapel entrance.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was set up in 1992 to promote the arts, culture and heritage for the public benefit; since inception Andrew has been the principal provider of funding for all its charitable activities. In 2010, the foundation embarked on an active grant giving programme and has now awarded grants of over £14m.

The chapel ceiling

*Relief patterns, cut from felt and wool, dipped in gesso and applied to a plaster panel. Further layers of gesso are applied, and the final metal leaf decoration attached with rabbit skin glue.

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Responses to Watts Gallery Gets £75,000 from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation

  1. A Tatlow Reply

    December 14, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you Mr Lloyd Webber.

    One of my favourite places.

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