Mrs George Watts

WattsMrs George Watts is possibly Mary Seton Watts, 83, (1849-1938) a painter and ceramicist, in Gothic Revival and Art Nouveau styles, suffragist, and widow of the celebrated Royal Academician George Frederic Watts (1817-1904)[2] 

puzzle-piece2-50We cannot be sure this is our Mrs George Watts. Mary was also known as Mary Seton Watts and perhaps might have been styled as such for the dinner, unless that was used mainly for her artistic career. Mrs George Watts is not that unusual a name but we have no better ideas. If you can strengthen her case, e.g. by linking her to others on the table, or come up with other likely candidates, please contribute your ideas! Thank you.

SEATED BESIDE

As with the others not many guiding principles to seat this table, but with some common interests around art/music and suffrage.

WHAT’S ON HER MIND?

Having a good evening – the most senior citizen at the dinner.

MARY’S STORY SO FAR

Mary Fraser-Tytler was born in Bombay, India on 25th November 1849, the daughter of Etheldred St Barbe (1817 – 1849) and Charles Edward Fraser-Tytler of Balmain and Aldourie (1817 -1881). She was the youngest of three sisters, and had younger three half-brothers and a half-sister: her mother died soon after Mary was born. Julia Margaret Cameron took some notable photographs of the sisters.

four sisters.jpg

After an upbringing primarily in Scotland, Mary trained at the Slade and South Kensington School of Art and began as a portrait painter. In 1885 she was listed as an artist living at 13a Bloomfield Place, Pimlico SW. She married George Frederic Watts, R.A., (1817 – 1904) on 20th November 1886, his second wife (he was 69 and she 36). She was also known as Mary Seton Watts. She supported the revival of the Celtic style, the indigenous artistic expression of Scotland and Ireland, in 1899, designing rugs in this style for the carpet company Alexander Morton & Co of Darvel, Liberty‘s main producer of furnishing fabrics, thus helping to pioneer Liberty’s Celtic style.

Mary was the first Hon. Chairman or the Hon. President of The Women’s Guild of Arts, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, WC1 and its Hon. President at the time of the dinner (though she was reportedly not very active, the minutes recording a letter regretting frequent inability to attend meetings).[3] She was President of the Godalming and District National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society and she convened at least one women’s suffrage meeting in Compton, Surrey. She worked to create employment for impoverished people through the preservation of rural handicrafts, as well as trained workers in clay modelling.[4]

WHAT MARY DID NEXT

83 at the time of the dinner, Mary died on 6th September 1938, at the age of 88 – probate listing her as Mary Seton Watts.

BACK TO TABLE 23


[1] Mary Seton Watts, (née Fraser-Tytler), by Herbert Lambert, NPG x1586 © National Portrait Gallery, London

[2] Mary Fraser Tytler Wikipedia

[3] Zoe Thomas, At Home with the Women’s Guild of Arts, thesis undated accessed online 28th April 2018 

[4] Mrs G F Watts, Hutchinson’s Woman’s Who’s Who 1934, Hutchinson & Co. London. 

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