Watts Studios exterior, 2016, © David Grandorge
Heritage experts at Focus
Consultants have played a key role in the opening to the public for the first
time of the studios of an eminent Victorian artist and his designer wife.
The company supported a
successful second round bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £2.4million grant
funding in support of the project at the home of G F
and Mary Watts.
Watts Gallery Trust has now recreated G F
Watts’s studio and created a gallery dedicated to Mary Watts’s work in the east
wing of the Grade-II listed
property Limnerslease in Compton, Surrey, which has just
opened to the public for the first time.
As well as seeing
where the couple worked, the public can also view some of their most famous paintings
and sculptures, including The Court of
(c. 1870-1902, Tate Britain), a huge painting that took G F Watts 32
years to complete. Watts’s
last major work, it is displayed upon a recreation of the original pulley
system designed by the artist to allow him to work upon the vast canvas in its
In addition to helping
to secure the grant, Nottingham-based Focus Consultants project managed the restoration
scheme – part of a £4million project to secure and restore this important site
in the arts world.
“This was the latest
in a number of key arts and heritage restoration schemes that Focus Consultants
has been proud to have played a role in, and we are delighted that the studios
of artists G F Watts and Mary Watts are now open to the public to visit,” said
Steven Fletcher, a Partner at Focus, which also has offices in London,
Leicester and in Boston and Aubourn in Lincolnshire.
“The principal aims of the project included
establishing a centre for heritage learning and research, showing the late 19th
Century domestic, social and working life of two leading Victorian artists, and
to sustain the future of an artists’ village, to secure the long-term future of
the Watts legacy and wider estate, and we were delighted to have brought our
expertise to this development.”
Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF,
said: “The opening up of Watts Studios is set to benefit the local community,
making a serious contribution to Surrey’s tourist economy and helping create a
sense of confidence and pride in what Compton can offer visitors both
domestically and internationally.”
Perdita Hunt, Director of Watts Gallery –
Artists’ Village, said: “We are grateful to HLF and to the Trusts, Foundations
and many generous individuals who are enabling us to save this important part
of our cultural heritage.”
Focus specialises in funding and economic
development including area regeneration strategies, funding applications,
economic impact appraisals, business plans, and research and evaluation.  Since 1994 Focus has also secured for clients
more than £953 million of grants for projects and businesses across the UK and
delivered more than £1.3 billion worth of projects and programmes – making it
one of the most successful businesses of its kind in the country.
It also offers services to the property and
construction industry, including building surveying, quantity surveying,
project management, and sustainable development support.
For more information, visit www.focus-consultants.co.uk

To find out more about Watts Gallery
Artists’ Village, visit www.wattsgallery.org.uk
Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR www.perfect10pr.co.uk