George Frederic Watts

George Frederic Watts
Other names
Sometimes spelt 'Frederick' ; often called G.F. Watts.
Birth and death
1817 - 1904
Profession details
Painter, Sculptor
Related places
Alistair Grant

George Frederic [sometimes spelt Frederick] Watts [often called G.F. Watts] (1817-1904) popular Victorian painter and sculptor associated with the Symbolist movement. His most famous sculptural work 'Physical Energy' was cast at the Thames Ditton Foundry in bronze in 1902, 1903 and 1904. The large bronze statue depicts a naked man on horseback shielding his eyes from the sun as he looks ahead. The original was modelled in coarse plaster - gesso grosso - and is at Watts Gallery, Compton. A cast was commissioned for the Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town to honour Cecil Rhodes. A second cast is in Harare, and a third is in London's Kensington Gardens, on the northwest side of the Serpentine. An earlier large equestrian statue of 1876-83, called 'Hugh Lupus', on which 'Physical Energy' was based, is at Eaton Hall. [See G. F. Watts, Physical Energy, Sculpture and Site by Stephanie Brown.] During the 1860s, Watts spent the winter months at 'Sandown House' in Esher at social gatherings with Tom Taylor and the Duff Gordons, and the émigré Orléans family from Claremont. Watts also supported his half-sisters by acquiring a house for them at Long Ditton.

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