Frances Watt - Mid 20th Century Oil, Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey
DescriptionA sombre and atmospheric depiction of a group of mourners at the Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey. Inscribed on the reverse.On board.
The board has bowed slightly but overall the appearance is very good. Inspection under UV light reveals no restoration.
29.7 x 55.7cm (11.7" x 21.9")Sheet: 34.3 x 60.9cm (13.5" x 24")
(Edith) Frances Watt was an immensely talented artist who never received the attention she deserved. Watt was born in Falkirk in 1923 and moved to Geneva at the age of 3 where she lived until 1936 when she was 13. Her father was the Reverend Thomas M Watt, DD. He was minister of the Scots Church in Geneva and was the League of Nations correspondent for British Weekly. We believe Frances is the youngest girl in the photograph shown. They then moved back to Ballater, Scotland until 1938 when her father died.
Watt then aged 15 moved to Highgate in London (Southwood Lawn Road) with her mother, with whom she lived for the rest of her life. By then she was calling herself Frances. She attended the Hornsey School of Art (1946) and the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting.
Things then went quiet and we have found no works dated between 1946 and 1953. She then began work on a series of works with religious themes – unsurprising, in that her father and two of her uncles were prominent churchmen. She was active in the Highgate Choral Society.
Things got really interesting in the 1960’s. She was commissioned by the Council of the Stock Exchange to record the daily life in the Square Mile. The City paintings she did were very highly thought of at the time but the style fell out of favour. The paintings were featured in a set of postcards in the 1960s. She participated in a joint exhibition of 6 Highgate artists about that time – see photograph of poster.
During the 1960s her paintings and illustrations of the “old” Stock Exchange were included in the Stock Exchange Journal, the Times newspaper and the Lord Mayor’s Art Awards exhibition. Our collection includes views of Lloyds, the Royal Exchange, and The Discount Market as well. There are a large number of drawings done for the Times. Watt moved back to Perth (Myrtle Cottage, Main St, Bankfoot) in Nov 1992. The latest work in our collection is dated 1993 and we have no information after that date. We believe this collection has been in storage from about that date.
Why was Watt not better known in her lifetime? Surely it was not for lack of ability. We believe it was a marketing failure. She was raised in a patriarchal home, never married, always lived with her mother, was never represented by a gallery, and probably never properly promoted her own work. Perhaps now is her time.
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20, Deans Yd, Westminster, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom, SW1P 3PA
|Date||Mid 20th Century|
|Dimensions||29.7 x 55.7cm|
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