I mentioned in a post earlier this year, a trip I made to Watts Gallery situated in Surrey in the village of Compton, close to Guildford. The gallery houses the work of the famous sculptor & artist George F Watt and his wife Mary, also renowned for her own artistic work. Since then I had the pleasure of visiting Limnerslease, which was their autumn and winter home.
*The name Limnerslease is unusual, but the word ‘Limner’ is old English for artist, and ‘Lease’ is to glean hope for the future. The new house included a large studio for George, as well as a studio for Mary. Much of the interior was designed and created by Mary.
When George died in 1904, Mary made Limnerslease her main residence and following her death in 1938 the house was separated into 3 separate dwellings.The Watts Gallery Trust has now secured the east wing of the house. Importantly this is where George’s studio is located, so the Trust is working on a restoration to turn the house back into the residence that George and Mary would recognise. The Trust continues to look into securing the remainder of the house.*
(*information taken from the Watts Gallery website where you can arrange to have a guided tour of this amazing property.)
It was a chilly morning in February when I made my visit, yet the moment I walked into the house I felt warmed by the sheer cosiness. The decor with its rich vibrant colour was so inviting.
Stepping from the dark hallway we were lead by the tour guide through to a bright and sunny room where light was cascading through the long windows. Again full of colour.
The room was sparsely furnished with Arts & Crafts furniture, and your eyes were drawn to a very colourful rug in the centre of the floor, which appeared to echo the plastered designs which once embellished the alcove in this room.
The original plasterwork can be seen in the photograph below and the remains of its existence can still be seen today.
Beautifully carved sliding panelled doors separate the the hallway from the living room.
The plastered ceilings all have a story to tell ….but you will need to go on the tour to find out more!
This is only a taste of what there is to see at Limnerslease. I would highly recommend booking on a tour. Once you have finished the tour, head to the Mary Watts Studios to see more of her work amazing work and if you haven’t viewed the Watts Chapel yet aim for there too!
Watts Gallery are holding an open day on Sunday 16 September to view the gallery and studios from 11am – 5pm. Take advantage of this free day and whilst there why not book a return visit for a tour of Limnerslease! Follow this link for further information.