GF Watts Self Portrait Accepted in Lieu of Tax

April 3 2024

Image of GF Watts Self Portrait Accepted in Lieu of Tax

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, have announced their acquisition of a Self Portrait by George Frederic Watts as part of the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. The painting, which was painted in 1867 the year Watts was accepted as a member of the R.A., settled £92,978 of tax.

According to the gallery's press release:

Originally acquired from the artist by Charles Hilditch Rickards (1812-1886), the Manchester merchant, philanthropist and collector who was influential in the development of the artist’s career, the painting was subsequently owned by Thomas Henry Ismay (1817-1899), founder of the famous White Star Line, and Kerrison Preston (1884-1974), whose collection of 19th century art also included Choosing (1864) – Watts’s much-admired portrait of his first wife, Ellen Terry.

Now,120 years since the Gallery first opened its doors on 1 April 1904, visitors to Watts Gallery can see how G F Watts chose to portray himself as this critical point in his career. And, displayed alongside earlier and later self-portraits, the painting will further understanding about the development of self-identity across the course of a long life and career.

This story also provides me with the opportunity of sharing my enthusiasm for this brief discussion of Watts' Self Portraits by Richard Jefferies, one of the former directors of the Watts Gallery.

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