George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) was a titanic figure in nineteenth-century British art. The father of British Symbolism and portrait painter of his age, he forged a controversial career that spanned the reign of Queen Victoria. This book, the first in-depth biography of Watts, sheds new light on the pioneering spirit and breadth of mind of the artist. Drawing on Watts's abundant personal correspondence and diaries and an array of other contemporary documents, the book chronicles the artist's career and personal life, including his friendships with Edward Burne-Jones, Frederic Leighton, William Gladstone, and Alfred Tennyson and his relationships with a series of singular women. The book also examines Watts's wide reforming zeal and political agenda as well as his role and dealings in the Victorian art world.
Veronica Franklin Gould is curator of the exhibition The Vision of G.F. Watts, to be held at The Watts Gallery, Surrey. She is editing Watts's letters and writing a biography of his wife, Mary Seton Watts.