Watts Gallery – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

First opening its doors to the public in 1904, Watts Gallery is a purpose-built art gallery created to display the works by the great Victorian artist G F Watts.

Over 100 paintings by Watts are on permanent display. Spanning a period of 70 years they include portraits, landscapes and his major symbolic works. Watts Gallery also has a programme of temporary exhibitions showcasing some of the finest works relating to Watts, his inner-circle and the Victorian age in general.

After a major restoration project completed in 2011, visitors can once again experience stunning artworks whilst wandering through the atmospheric historic galleries with their restored decorative schemes.


WattsStudioThe IAO has teamed up with the curatorial team to interpret the scent of Watts’ studio, as an olfactory component to the newly restored Watts Studios, opening in January, 2016.

The scent will help visitors get a visceral sense of how the great artist would have worked, and incorporates olfactory notes related to the materials he used: Linseed oil, wax, charcoal, varnish, pencil, stretcher bars and canvas, and a host of pigments.

“The key thing is we want to create the sense that Watts has just stopped working and gone out for a walk in the woods, so the smell of pigment and oil should be fresh. In terms of atmosphere, it was an active space with a sense of calm. Watts worked on his paintings for many years, so there was a great build up of paint over many years. There would always be something drying, something being worked on and something waiting to be worked on.”

More information to come.



Down Lane, Compton,
Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1DQ