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www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / SUMMER 201143HOLBOURNE MUSEUM

44NADFAS REVIEW / SUMMER 2011www.nadfas.org.ukLeft:GF Watts'smarble ofDaphne,in front of AllPervadingin theExhibitionGalleryRight:TheSculpture Galleryat Watts GalleryBelow:GF Wattsat Limnersleasein front of hisDella Robbiaroundel, c.1900its subsequent return to display. In themeantime, the collection had to bedocumented and conserved, anenormous undertaking. Some 3,000items were individually numbered,recorded and photographed before theyleft the buildings. These can now beseen online with a further 4,000Victorian artists' photographs and lettersof The Rob Dickins Collection and theWatts Gallery's own glass slide collection,as well as the contents of the library. Everything had to be prepared formoving. Forty-nine crates of sculpturewere carefully packed, several of thevery fragile pieces of plaster went toconservation, and the monumentalmodels were moved into a speciallyconstructed shed built just outside thesculpture gallery. The movement of thesculpture, the large frescoes andpaintings embedded in the walls wasundertaken by Oxford ExhibitionServices with a team of conservators. The move was a unique opportunityfor the collection to be assessed andcared for on a different level than hadbeen possible before. It also meant thatthe redisplay could be much morestrategic in its approach. Its interpretationwas discussed and planned well inadvance. The inclusion of a buildingmanagement system in the restorationproject has meant that all the galleriesand stores can be maintained at a stabletemperature and humidity, somethingthat benefits visitors as well as thecollection. Adequate picture storage andtwo rooms for the library and archive, theJohn George Study Room and SeminarRoom, also mean that the collection ismore accessible to those who want touse the research facilities at the gallery.Being able to provide a stable environmentwith improved security has madesecuring loans from national collectionspossible and the Watts Gallery isreopening with the exhibition Painting forthe Nation: GF Watts at the Tate, whichwill exhibit Watts'smasterpieces from theTate. The exhibition represents both astatement of Watts's significance as anartist and a celebration of the importanttriumvirate of galleries that hold hisworks: the National Portrait Gallery, TateBritain and Watts Gallery, Compton.The conservation of the collection wasundertaken by a number of differentconservators from different disciplines.They included painting conservators,notably Hamish Dewar who gave soImages: Watts Gallery Collection / Watts Gallery/Anne Purkiss / G.F. Watts, Hope 1885-6. Private collection / The Rob Dickins Collection at Watts GalleryWATTS GALLERY