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Amy Watt

(Plymouth, Devon 1900-1956 Chelsea, London)

Study of the Artist's Son George Millar Watt (1931-1988), c. 1935

oil on panel

17 x 14 cm.

in a period frame


From the Estate of Mary Millar Watt (1924-2023)

This exquisitely diminutive panel portrait of the artist's son George was painted when he was around four or five, and the family were living at 'The Studio', a house designed and built by Mary's husband John, in Cole's Oak Lane, Dedham, offering the same magnificent views that Constable had painted in the 19th century.

Watt was a busy artist, in a supportive marriage with fellow artist, John Millar Watt (1895-1975), whom she met whilst studying at St. Martin’s School of Fine Art. They married in 1923 and both worked for advertising agencies as staff artists. They moved to Dedham in Essex where they designed and built a modern studio overlooking Dedham Vale, befriending the artist Alfred Munnings and his wife, Violet, frequent visitors to their home. Watt became a member of the Ipswich Art Club from 1926-1935, before the couple moved to St. Ives where they became temporary members of its artistic colony, taking on the Chy-an-Chy Studio overlooking the harbour. At the time, they would have got to know Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, who famously relocated from Hampstead to St. Ives at the start of WWII.

Over the course of her life Amy Watt exhibited 19 works at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions between 1929 and her death in 1953, and also showed at the Paris Salon over the years, as well as in local shows in Suffolk, Essex and St Ives. After the Second World War she and her husband moved to London and made their home in Chelsea, at 8 Walton Street.

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