1817 – 1904
Born London in 1817. He worked in the studio of the sculptor William Behnes studying classical art at the Royal Academy Schools.
He was associated with the symbolist movement and was influenced by the Pre Raphaelites.”I paint ideas not things”. He knew the Bloomsbury group and the Tennysons.
When the Grosvenor Gallery opened in 1877 he was able to exhibit his work, later building a museum in Compton, Surrey dedicated to his own work (only Gallery devoted to one artist) and opened shortly before his death. Expanded in 2011.
In 1897 he donated 18 symbolist works to the Tate, Hope 1886, is now well known.
In the Royal Academy Summer Show 1904 his Physical Energy was on display in the Burlington courtyard and then taken to Cape Town.
He is remembered more for his portrait painting (see works in National Portrait Gallery) in the Victorian era and was awarded the new Order of Merit in 1902.
He died in 1904 in London.
bronze ht 50 cm
This is a version of the life size sculpture Watts worked on for 25 years and is in Kensington Gardens. The large original was exhibited at the Royal Academy show in 1904. Two other large casts were made from it, one for the Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town the other, cast in 1959, for the gardens of the National Archive in Harare, Zimbabwe.
It was inspired by Hugh Lupus Grosvenor portraying one of his ancestors as a hunter rider.
This small version is one of a number cast up by the Fine Arts Society. It was bought by the Trust in 1960 and loaned to Harlow Urban District Council and sited in the entrance to the Town Hall.
It is now housed in the Gibberd Gallery, in Harlow’s Civic Centre.