WATTS, George Frederic

1817 - 1904

George Frederic Watts

George Frederic Watts was born at Marylebone, London on 23 February 1817, and baptised at St Mary's Church, Marylebone Road, London on 30 March 1817, son of George Watts, piano-maker, and his second wife Harriet née Smith, who married at Marylebone on 10 March 1816, George's first wife was Mary Richardson, whom he married at Marylebone on 23 June 1793. Young George was educated at home and showed artistic promise early on, learning sculpture from the age of 10 with William Behnes (1795-1864) in Dean Street, Soho and at the age of 18 was a student at the Royal Academy where he first exhibited in 1837. With patronage from Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890) he also began painting portraits. In 1843 Watts won the premium first prize of 300 for his drawing 'Caracticus' in the competition to design murals for the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster and Watts used this prize money to travel to Europe, taking in the art scene in Paris before travelling south through France and Italy. His journey ended in Florence where he intended to study fresco painting and its techniques. He exhibited four works at the Suffolk Fine Arts Association at Ipswich in 1850 including an oil 'Repentance of Judas', a chalk drawing and a watercolour with another work exhibited at Ipswich by a G. G. Watts which is probably an error for G. F., an oil 'Aurora'. George was elected an Academician at the Royal Academy in 1867 and was one of the original members of the new Order of Merit (OM) in 1902. He married firstly St Barnabus, Pimlico on 20 February 1864, 16-year-old Ellen Terry, the actress, but they separated in January 1865 when he made her an annual allowance of 300 and she returned to live with her father but when he discovered that she was living with Edwin William Godwin, an architect, Watts petitioned for divorce in 1877. In 1886, at the age of 69, Watts remarried, 36-year-old Mary Fraser Tytler, a Scottish designer and potter and they built a house at Guildford, Surrey. George Frederic Watts was of 'Limnerslease', near Guildford when he died at Little Holland House, Kensington, London on 1 July 1904, his estate was valued at over 84,000.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 33 Upper Norton Street, Fitzroy Square, London
1837 258 Portrait of a Young Lady
         328 A Wounded Heron
         510 Portrait of a Young Lady
1840, 1841, 1842, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1885, 1886, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904




Works by This Artist