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William Loftus Hare

by William Loftus Hare

In July of 1904 the eighty-seven mortal years of George Frederick Watts came to an end. He had outlived all the contemporaries and acquaintances of his youth; few, even among the now living, knew him in his middle age; while to those of the present generation, who knew little of the man though much of his work, he appeared as members of the Ionides family, thus inaugurating the series of private and public portraits for which he became so famous. The Watts of our day, however, the teacher first and the painter afterwards, had not yet come on the scene.

Having given in the preceding pages the briefest possible outline of the life of Watts as a man amongst men, we are now able to come to closer quarters. He was essentially a messenger—a teacher, delivering to the world, in such a manner that his genius and temperament made possible, ideas which had found their place in his mind. He would have been the first to admit that without these ideas he would be less than nothing.

Failing the "Progress of the Cosmos," we have from the mind and brush of Watts a great number of paintings, which may be grouped according to their character. Such divisions must not be regarded as rigid or official, for often enough a picture may belong to several groups at the same time. For the purpose of our survey, however, we divide them as follows:

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