From 1843 to 1847 George Watts lived in Italy, studying firsthand the monu-mental masterpieces of the Renaissance, most notably Michelangelo, Tintoretto and the Venetian colourists. He sought to achieve in his work a marriage of sculptural solidity and painterly warmth. Both a painter and sculptor, he regarded artistic ambidexterity as a duty. Many of the allegorical paintings Watts produced are bombastic in scale and abstruse in meaning. Nonetheless, his Victorian public welcomed these often clumsy conceptions as faultless expressions of genius, going so far as to accord him the title of the English Michelangelo. Watts portrayed most of the men and women of culture of his day, amassing a virtual anthology of English society. The ravishing 'Alice' shows him at his understated best. The sitter has been captured in a state of reverie undisturbed by interruptions from the outside world, and spared the histrionic excesses more characteristic of this painter's style.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
oil on canvas
67.0 x 53.4 cm stretcher; 98.2 x 85.8 x 6.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.l., red oil "G.F. Watts". Not dated.
Gift of the Executors of the Estate of the late G.F. Watts 1907
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Unknown, Grosvenor Gallery, England 1884, Grosvenor Gallery, London, England, 1884–1884
Unknown, Leeds 1893, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1893–1893
Unknown, Munich 1893, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1893–1893
Unknown, Cardiff 1894, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1894–1894
Special loan collection of the works by the late G.F. Watts, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, England, Aug 1905–Aug 1905
Unknown, Manchester 1905, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester, 1905–1905
Watts memorial exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, Dublin, 1906–1906
George Frederic Watts, England, Gift of the Executors of the Estate of the late G.F. Watts 1907
Referenced in 5 publications
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 206 (illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 42 (colour illus.).
Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 176. cat.no. 2264
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, Catalogue of the special loan collection of works by the late G. F. Watts, R.A., O.M., 1905.
Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, Watts memorial exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy, 1906.