I went to a dinner tonight to honour the bicentenary of Watts’s birth (he was born on 23 February 1817, the son of a pianoforte maker in Bryanston Square). Hovering over the evening was the question why Watts, who was a pariah of the Bloomsbury Group, has enjoyed a recent reincarnation as a Grand Old Man of Victorian painting. Virginia Woolf described his memorial exhibition in 1905 (at the RA) as ‘atrocious‘ and lampooned him in her play Freshwater. He might have been included in Eminent Victorians if Lytton Strachey had regarded him as remotely interesting. Part of the answer must lie in the Watts Gallery, which used to be seedily neglected, looked after as a sinecure by Wilfred Blunt, Anthony’s older brother. Now it has been revivified by Perdita Hunt, a Trustee of the HLF, and Richard Ormond, who was chairman of trustees for a mere 32 years (I think he became a trustee in 1972). Part of it may lie in the fact that Mary particularly was a good socialist, interested in the practice of pottery in the village. And part of it is a matter of time – that someone who was such a big figure in his lifetime, the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, is definitely worthy of historical record, if not necessarily artistic admiration.