WATTS, George Frederic

1817 - 1904

George Frederic Watts

George Frederic Watts was born at Marylebone, London on 23 February, and baptised at St Mary, 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's mother Harriet died while George was still young. Educated at home and showed artistic promise very early, learning sculpture from the age of 10 with William Behnes (1795-1864) and at the age of 18 a student at the Royal Academy where he first exhibited in 1837. He also began painting portraits, with the patronage from Alexander Constantine Ionides (1810-1890). Watts won a first prize for his drawing 'Caracticus' in the competition to design murals for the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster in 1843. He exhibited three works and another at the Suffolk Fine Art Association [q.v.] at Ipswich in 1850; an oil 'Repentence of Judas', a chalk drawing and a watercolour. Another work was exhibited at Ipswich by a G. G. Watts which is probably an error for G. F., an oil 'Aurora'. He was elected an Academician at the Royal Academy in 1867 and ne of the original members of the new Order of Merit (OM) in 1902. He married firstly on 20 February 1864, 16 year old Ellen Terry, the actress and after she eloped with another man after less than a year of marriage, Watts divorced her and 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. He 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.

Works by This Artist