Portrait of an artist for NT group


The Rye and District Association supporter group of the National Trust (RDNTA) held their penultimate lecture of the season in Brede village hall on Thursday, April 20, about an artist once married to actress Ellen Terry who owned a home locally, Smallhythe Place near Tenterden, now owned by the National Trust (NT).

John Stevenson with Maggie Brown, NT lecture organiser

The association were delighted to welcome John Stevenson, a guide from Watts Gallery near Guildford, who gave a comprehensive talk on George and Mary Watts who opened their gallery in 1904, a few months before George’s death. Both George and Mary were artists in their own right.

George’s career started when he was 10 years old and at the age of 17 he painted a self portrait. He married Ellen Terry when she was just 17, to save her from an actress’s life (considered an unsuitable life for a young woman), obviously unsuccessfully as Ellen left George in less than a year and pursued her acting career.

John continued by telling the audience how George had met Mary as an art student and later married her when he was in his sixties and she was some 30 years younger.

The final lecture will be “My career in silver smithing”, in Brede village hall, starting at 2pm on Thursday, May 18. All are welcome. 

The National Trust also owns Lamb House in Rye, formerly home to writers Henry James and EF Benson, as well as other properties a short drive away in Kent and Sussex – including writer Rudyard Kipling’s home at Burwash, together with Bodiam Castle, Scotney Castle, and the garden at Sissinghurst Castle, home to writers Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson.   (Source: RDNTA)  


Photos: National Trust and Rye and District National Trust Assocation (RDNTA)

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