The Life/Death-Writing of Mary Watts: a diary record of the demise of ‘England’s Michelangelo’

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Lucy Ella Rose has recently completed her PhD in English Literature – titled ‘Women in Nineteenth-Century Creative Partnerships: the “Significant Other”’ – at the University of Surrey. As part of her research, she worked on the Mary Watts archive and transcribed several of Mary’s diaries at Watts Gallery in Surrey. Watts Gallery is planning to publish a selection from the diaries in the near future (see http://www.wattsgallery.org.uk/).

Hope Hope

Death is at once familiar as an inevitable event and universal condition of humankind, and yet unfamiliar as a largely unknowable experience; shrouded in mystery, it has always inspired artists and writers. Victorian literature, correspondence and diaries reveal an especially deep preoccupation with death due partly to a shorter life expectancy, high infant mortality rate and dominant Christian culture. The diaries of the pioneering professional Victorian woman artist and Liberty’s designer Mary Seton Watts (1849-1938) are no exception. However, they are unique and…

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