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Statue of Watts on V&A

G. F. Watts, façade of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London.

Born in London, son of a piano maker and tuner. Early enjoyed the run of thc studio of sculptor William Behnes. Entered R.A. Schools, 1835. Won premium of £300 with cartoon of "Caractacus" for Westminster Palace, 1842. Went to Italy, where befriended” by Lord and Lady Holland. Returned to England 1847. Became eminent portrait painter, but was more interested in allegorical subjects on monumental scale. Always admired Elgin marbles. Friend of Leighton from 1855, and like him (and many of the old masters) made small plaster models in preparation for compositions of paintings. Exhibited "Clytie" (a bust) at R.A. 1867. Life-size figure of Lord Holland seated, designed in collaboration with J. E. Boehm. Began colossal equestrian statue of Hugh Lupus, 1870, finished in 1881; repeated composition in "Physical Energy" posthumously erected in Kensington Gardens, 1908. A R.A. and R.A. 1897. — from British Sculpture, 1850-1914


G. F. Watts” by Henry Poole. Watts Gallery, Compton.

Works in Other Media

Watts as Subject — Portraits


British Sculpture, 1850-1914. Exhibition catalogue, The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street London Wl. 30th September-30th October 1968, no. 37.

Beattie, Susan. The New Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.

Blunt, Wilfred. "England's Michaelangelo": A Biography of George Frederic Watts, Om., R.A. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1975..

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

Last modified 26 August 2006