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George Frederic Watts art prints and posters

This painter of historical subjects and portraits was born in London in 1817 to a maker of musical instruments. Apprenticed at the age of 10 to William Behnes, a sculptor, he entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1835. Watts was actually exhibiting at the Royal Academy by 1837, and in 1843 one of his pictures won a £300 prize in the Westminster Hall competition. With this prize money, Watts visited Italy, where he stayed in Florence with his friends Lord and Lady Holland. On his return to London in 1847 he was awarded the £500 first prize in the House of Lords' painting competition.

Despite the artistic stature Watts had attained, a dearth of commissions deeply depressed him. His poor financial condition depleted his confidence, and in 1850 he went to become the family guest of Mr. and Mrs. Thoby Prinsep at Little Holland House. There he remained until 1875.

Elected Associate of the Royal Academy, then Member in 1867, Watts' pictures were not hugely popular either with the critics or the public and it was not until the 1880s that his painting began to achieve popular recognition. At this time, exhibitions of his work were held in Manchester, London and New York, thus quickly establishing him as a leading Victorian painter. Finally he threw off his 25-year depression, though he remained a bitter man, twice refusing a baronetcy but finally accepting the Order of Merit.

In 1864 Watts was briefly married to the famous actress Ellen Terry, who was the model for Choosing. The brevity of this relationship was probably accountable to Watts' impending depression. In 1886 he married Mary Fraser Tytler and soon afterwards they built a house together near Guildford, which is now the Watts Museum. Watts' work was exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institute, the Society of British Artists, the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery. Watts said of his own paintings: "I paint ideas, not things." He remained an isolated figure, founded no school, and is well known for his fine and discerning portraits. Watts died in 1904 and is now considered to be one of the greatest artists of the nineteenth century. His work was central to a major exhibition on the Symbolists at the Tate Gallery in 1998.

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Moulding

Gives the frame its character and provides the perfect setting for an artwork to be fully enjoyed.

Perspex or glass

Protects the artwork from dust and wilting so that it can be admired for many years.

Mount

Adds depth to an image and works with the moulding to enhance and protect the artwork.

Backing board

Bonds to the artwork ensuring it is perfectly smooth and holds the whole frame together.

More about framing

framing info

In the Design Studio

We partner with the world's top museums and galleries to bring you exclusive prints of the highest quality. Our teams of designers ensure the colours are accurate, papers are well suited and the best frames are suggested.

Colour Perfecting in the Print Room

In the printing room, artworks are printed on state-of-the-art machines with a team of technicians checking colour and quality every step of the way.

Measuring Up

After being cut down to size, our team carefully finish any stray edges, check measurements and prepare the prints for mounting and framing.

Assembling Frames in the Framing Workshop

We have a team of master framers who work with high-quality, responsibly-sourced wood to create our vast range of framing combinations - each frame is bespoke and made to order for every print.

Hand-finishing in the Framing Workshop

Our selection of hand-finished frames are painted or stained by hand in a variety of colours, and finished with a layer of wax - the end result is a uniquely crafted, beautiful frame that is made to last.

The Last Stop

In this workshop everything comes together - the print, the frame and the glass - in a seamless and stream-lined process.

Mounting the Prints

The artwork is carefully mounted in preparation for framing.

Laying the Glass

Once mounted, the print is ready to be covered by glass or perspex - a delicate procedure but expertly done with not a fingerprint in sight.

The Final Product

After a final, thorough check, the framed print is ready to be carefully packaged up and shipped to the customer.

Transferring to Canvas

For those who order their art as canvas prints, the same amount of attention and care goes into the process. Here, the print is being transferred to a wooden frame.

Finishing the Canvas Edging

As with the framed prints, our canvases are all hand-finished in the workshop - a labour of love from start to finish.