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An artists' village for Surrey? Watts Gallery campaign to save Limnerslease, Compton

PUBLISHED: 18:39 18 October 2011 | UPDATED: 09:44 16 May 2014

Prince Charles speaking at Watts Gallery in May (Photo: Pete Gardner)

Prince Charles speaking at Watts Gallery in May (Photo: Pete Gardner)

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity means that the trustees of Watts Gallery, which has just reopened after a multi-million pound restoration, now have the chance to transform Compton into a unique artists' village. Prince Charles approves...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2011. Updated in October 2011.

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In August, we told Surrey Life readers about the Watts Gallery trustees' once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform Compton into a unique artists’ village for Surrey.

It can now be announced that Prince Charles is to become a patron of their £9m Limnerslease Project Appeal, having visited Compton to reopen Watts Gallery in May following its multi-million pound restoration.

For the first time since 1938, artist GF Watts’ 19th century studio and house, Limnerslease, are both being offered for sale and the trust has launched the project to preserve them for the nation.

“The Limnerslease Project will save a unique part of our heritage, complete an artists’ village in Compton and bring innovation and ideas to the artists and art enthusiasts of tomorrow,” says Lady Angela Nevill, chairman of the Limnerslease Project appeal committee.

Artist Antony Gormley, who has spoken passionately about the inspiration he has drawn from GF Watts, also donated one of his works, Another Time XIII, to the campaign and it sold at auction at Christie’s in London for £160,000. 

“GF Watts was a visionary who believed in art’s potential to transform lives and the power of the artist as a singular independent voice that can speak for all,” says Antony, who has agreed to become arts patron of the Limnerslease Appeal.

“I am happy to be able to support the revitalisation of his home and studio as a place of inspiration.”   

The Limnerslease Project Appeal follows the trustees well-publicised and successful efforts to raise the £11million needed to save the Grade II* listed gallery and its precious collection of sculptures and paintings by the famous 19th-century artist George Frederic Watts.

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