GF Watts: The Hall of Fame - Portraits of his Great Contemporaries
7 February – 3 June 2012
Between 1847 and 1901 GF Watts created a magnificent portrait gallery of his great contemporaries for presentation to the nation.
By the end of his life he was to give more than forty portraits to the National Portrait Gallery in London, a unique record of the people he most admired, of whom many were his friends.The great poets and artists of the day sat to him, Tennyson and Browning, Leighton and Rossetti, together with thinkers and philanthropists, among them JS Mill and Thomas Carlyle, and a scattering of statesmen.Watts claimed that he wished to paint the mind and soul of his sitters as well as their outward appearance. Avoiding fashionable dress and accessories, he depicted them as men of destiny, profound thinkers and creative geniuses, in a timeless style quite unlike that of any other artist of the period.