Thanks for popping in.
Limnerslease is the name of Artists George and Mary Watts' house in Compton near Guildford. A limner is another name for a painter and the word lease also means to glean and they hoped to glean happy lives there as artists.
Now that the Studio has been restored and the Watts Gallery Trust have recently become the owners of the rest of the house, which had been divided into three separate residences, they are deciding how best to use the building in the future but in the meantime, the public can take a tour.
The front of the house has the Studio off to the left, the main living quarters in the middle and another section which was built on later for their adopted daughter Lilian and her children on the right. The small white windows in the tiled roof were the servants rooms for the five servants that helped them.
Entering into the hall from the front door, you can see the light and airy space of the red drawing room through the ornately carved hall doors. None of the original furniture exists and some of the bespoke wall coverings have been removed but the incredible plaster ceilings and beaten copper fireplace panels designed and made by Mary can still be seen. The plaster ceiling in the hall is also still in place. There is a pelican rug designed by Mary on the floor in the drawing room.
|The patterns are full of symbolism relating to their lives.|
|Jazzy pelican rug|
There are lots of photos of the family on the walls, which also show how the rooms used to look. Maybe they will restore the niche in the red drawing room where George used to relax while Mary read Jane Austen and other books to him. There was quite an age gap between the pair, as indeed there had been between him and his first wife, the famous actress Ellen Terry, although that marriage didn't last long.
George rose at 4 or 5 in the morning and started work straightaway in his Studio. Their visitors would arrive at the house in the afternoons, William Gladstone, William and Evelyn de Morgan and Vanessa Bell were amongst them.
Up the wide, shallow staircase, you can see more photos of the family together with their bedroom and dressing room, which had a beautiful bedhead stored in it ready for restoration.
I think it will be very interesting to see how they go about restoring the building when funds become available and I'm glad to have seen it before the work begins.