I have been a little slow in sharing this find. You know how it is when life, the universe and an inability to pull your finger out and download your photos from the camera get in the way, but better late than never, I say and perhaps the timing is apt.
A couple of months ago, I finally got around to an excursion with a friend (deferred several times over a few months for one reason or another) to Watts Gallery and more specifically, Watts Chapel and Cemetery. OMG! Awesome is not a word I use casually, but it was completely and utterly an awesome place, an awesome experience and a jaw-droppingly awesome sight. In all…awesome.
My friend had been there before, so was entertained and rather pleased by my reaction and delight to the chapel and cemetery. Indeed, I was so taken with it that I dragged the whole family there a few days later (DH likes a bit of Art Nouveau).
The cemetery is fascinating enough in itself, with most of the graves and markers in a similar style to the Chapel, but the Chapel itself is absolutely breathtaking. Built around the turn of the 20th century, the exterior walls are covered with amazingly detailed reliefs and tiles; even minor details like the air bricks are decorative. As for the interior, the wall paintings are simply stunning and enhanced with intricate gesso details and panels…Well…see for yourself. Here are just a few of the pictures I took:
Should you find yourself in the vicinity of Guildford, it is well worth the short trip out to Compton to see this for yourself as the pictures really don’t convey how truly inspiring you will find this place. If you are too far away, there are more pictures and background information on the Watts Chapel website.
Although it isn’t mentioned in the programme write-up, BBC4 will be including this wonderful example of Art Nouveau in Episode 2 of Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau airing this Thursday, 29th March. I spotted it in the preview after last week’s episode