Thursday, 13 October 2011

Watts Gallery & The Observations

If you live in the area or are interested in Victorian art, do visit the newly restored Watts Gallery, just west of Guildford. Quite apart from the artist's work, the gallery itself is an impressive and pleasing piece of sympathetic modern design. Esse Fox, the Virtual Victorian, has recently blogged about Watts so here's a link, and here's a piece in the Guardian. I hate to admit I had hardly heard of Watts before going to the gallery, but I loved the gigantic sculptures. They alone are worth the journey (which may need skilled navigation) You can also see the Watts Chapel nearby (arts and crafts and mishmash)
Photo credits - the Watts Gallery

Recent reading
While we're in the Victorian era: Much enjoyed The Observations by Jane Harris (shortlisted for the Orange Prize). Here's an Observer article/review.
Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her murky past, young Bessy Buckley, the narrator, takes a job working as a maid in a big country house. But when Arabella, her beautiful mistress, asks her to undertake a series of bizarre tasks, Bessy begins to realise that she hasn't quite landed on her feet.  For instance, why did the previous maid die?  In revenge for what she reads in her mistress's secret notebook, Bessy plays a trick, with dire results.
Well researched, this amusing novel is necessarily sad in parts. I love Bessy's earthy voice. Well worth reading. Not as scary as Sarah Waters or as graphic as Michael Faber, but the book might not be suitable for the easily shocked elderly aunt or uncle.

1 comment:

Debs Carr said...

This gallery is wonderful and I like the sound of this book too.