Friday, 1 March 2013
Watts Cemetery Chapel, Compton (Guildford)
It was funded by the Arts and Crafts luminary George Frederic Watts and his wife Mary. She assembled the designs for the chapel, but much of the decorative scheme of deeply coloured glazed tiles and hand-painted gesso, were made by the villagers under her instruction. It was completed in 1904.
The exterior is rich enough, with elaborate terracotta friezes depicting Hope, Truth, Love and Light, and a round-headed doorway with three orders of Celtic style decoration.
But the interior takes the breath away.
Once your eyes become accustomed to the gloom, the richness of the decoration reveals itself: Celtic and religious symbolism, in flowing Art Nouveau style, with deep reds, blues and greens highlighted in gold. Every square inch of the interior is heavily moulded and painted - a true labour of love and dedication.
The sanctuary painting is also by George Frederic Watts (1904) and is entitled The All Pervading. It depicts a spirit, understood as an interpretation of God.
The chapel is used only for funeral services, but is open daily for visitors.
Down Lane, Compton, Guildford, Surrey GU3