Watts Gallery: Lottery gives £2.4m for home and studio purchase

Limnerslease Image copyright Watts Gallery
Image caption Limnerslease was the home and studio of George Frederic and Mary Watts

Plans to save the Surrey home of two Victorian artists have been boosted by a £2.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money will go towards a £5m project to buy and conserve Limnerslease, the studio and house of George Frederic and Mary Watts at Compton.

It will be part of an artists' village open to the public which includes Watts' gallery, pottery and chapel.

The Grade II listed property had been in private hands since Mary Watts died.

After 1938, the studio and house were divided and modernised, with many of the original features in the Arts and Crafts style being lost.

The Prince of Wales became a patron of the appeal to save Limnerslease after he visited in May 2011.

Watts Gallery, created by GF Watts for his work, was restored and opened to the public the same year.

Sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, who donated a sculpture to the appeal, is also a patron.

"Saving the Watts studios provides a further opportunity for the Watts Gallery Trust to offer visitors the chance to explore the 19th Century through the eyes of GF Watts and Mary Watts," said director Perdita Hunt.

The trust still needs to raise £800,000 towards the project.

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