Our wandering took us to a favourite place today, the Watts Chapel and Gallery in Compton. For me, this is a place of pilgrimage on many levels. There are labyrinths and pilgrim crosses to be seen, great (gluten free) cakes to be eaten, and interesting art exhibits to be experienced. We always enjoy ourselves, and every visit seems better than the last. (You can read about our last visit here.)
The current exhibit features the Victorian artist Richard Dadd who, despite spending much of his adult life in psychiatric hospitals, left a legacy of amazingly intricate and imaginative Shakespearean and fairy paintings. Not only is his art strikingly beautiful, but his keen perception and brilliant expressions of his inner world moved me to my core.This is a close-up of one section of his stunning masterpiece Contradiction: Oberon and Titania.
The Gallery is also hosting a long-term exhibit of works by William and Evelyn De Morgan, which literally made me weep with emotion. I don’t often have that reaction to art, and I felt positively enlivened as stood in front of Evelyn’s vivid portrayals of classical scenes and insightful characterizations. The Angel of Death touches me in a deeply personal place, reassuring me of the love with which one is carefully carried across the threshold of death. At this time in my life when I am increasingly aware of my own mortality, I am grateful for reassurances like this. Morbid? Not at all.
The old pilgrimage trail runs through this little corner of Compton, and no visit is complete without a visit to the cross erected by Mary Watts after the death of her husband G.F. Watts. As a pilgrim, I treasure every re-connection to the Path that means so much to me.