Watts Mortuary Chapel
|Watts Cemetery Chapel|
Watts Cemetery Chapel
Location within Surrey
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|Town or city||Compton, Surrey|
|Design and construction|
As a follower of the Home Arts and Industries Association, set up by Earl Brownlow in 1885 to encourage handicrafts among the lower classes, when Compton Parish Council created a new cemetery, local resident artist Mary Fraser-Tytler, the wife of Victorian era painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts, offered to design and build a new mortuary chapel. The chapel was the Watts's contribution to this characteristically Victorian preoccupation with social improvement through creative enlightenment. It is a Grade I listed building.
A group of local amateurs and enthusiasts, many of whom later went on with Mary Fraser-Tytler to found the Compton Potters' Arts Guild, constructed the chapel from 1896 to 1898; virtually every village resident was involved. The ground plan is essentially circular; from the outside the building has the look of a Roman Italianate chapel. Local villagers were invited to decorate the chapel under Mary's guidance, resulting in an interior that fuses art nouveau and Celtic influences, combined with Mary's own original style. Each member of Fraser-Tytler's evening class, led by Louis Deuchars, had a separate job, with 74 Compton villagers taking part. G.F. Watts paid for the project and also painted a version of The All-Pervading for the altar only three months before he died.
The graves display sayings influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, including "The Morning Stars Sang Together" and, inside the chapel, "Their hope is full of immortality but the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God."
Members of the Huxley family, including Aldous Huxley, are buried within the chapel grounds.
The Chapel is open Monday to Friday: 8am - 5pm, Saturday to Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10am - 5:30pm and is managed by Watts Gallery.
- "Watts Chapel". Guildford Council. Retrieved 2008-12-19.[dead link]
- Historic England. "Watts Memorial Chapel (1029541)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- "Watts Chapel". Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "Compton Potter's Arts Guild". meridiangallery.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- "Watts Gallery -". wattsgallery.org.uk. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
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