Limnerslease (from the word ‘limner’ meaning ‘artist’ and ‘lease’ meaning to glean hope for the future) was the home of the symbolist artist G.F. Watts. He and his wife called it the ‘little house’ – it is unclear if this was irony. Watts also paid for a chapel and a museum to display his own art. Information about Watts is mostly very respectful. He was embedded in high Victorian culture and was influential as an artist. However, I cannot shake the feeling that he was an old rogue. I don’t like his art at all, whereas the work of his wife Mary Fraser Tytler (33 years Watts’ junior) was much more interesting.
The buildings are open to the public and a pleasant day can be spent there and in the attractive grounds. There is a gallery with interesting art and a very nice tea room. It is no doubt shallow of me but I much prefer the gallery and tea room to the Watts’ unconvincing art.
I don’t often want to paint interiors, but I was struck with the light pouring into the drawing-room of Limnerslease. I liked the bright window the ghostly trees beyond, framed as a painting is framed, and perhaps contemplated similarly.