Godalming boasts a vibrant community of independent outlets, providing an exciting opportunity to explore all manner of arts and crafts, and also find all of the essentials you need to be creative at home.
This beautiful corner of West Surrey has always attracted artists, and a new initiative started by Godalming Together will provide publicity for the town’s art and craft shops to attract visitors from all over Surrey – and as far away as the adjoining districts of Hampshire, West Sussex and Berkshire.
Leaflets providing essential details of the town’s arts and crafts outlets, together with a location map and a potted history of Godalming’s most noted artists, will be widely distributed.
William Cobbett wrote of the landscape between Godalming and Guildford that “there is hardly another such a pretty four miles in England”, and Turner filled sketch books on his visits. Artist, gardener and craftswoman Gertrude Jekyll described her love of “this country with its great tracts of wood and heathland, beautiful wild ground and soil of bright yellow sand and rock”.
In the mid-19th century, the railway brought the area’s picturesque villages and wooded hills within easy reach of London and it became the “Artists’ Surrey Eden”, as described by Godalming author Annabel Watts.
Miles Birket Foster’s home at Wormley, decorated by William Morris and Burne Jones, was the hub for an extraordinary community of artists including Helen Allingham, Kate Greenaway and Graham Walford Robertson. In Compton, George Frederic and Mary Watts established the Watts Gallery, the Potters Art Guild, and the remarkable Watts Chapel. Many of the artists were part of the Arts and Crafts movement; the area is rich in the architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens and owes even more to Hugh Thackeray Turner who built the graceful Phillips Memorial Cloister in Godalming and preserved local beauty spots including Hindhead Common, Eashing Bridge and Godalming’s quirky Pepperpot.
The First World War brought Dame Laura Knight to stay at the Angel in Godalming, and where she painted scenes of army life at the camps on Witley Common.
Godalming continues to celebrate art and artists. Wander the town’s winding streets to explore the great variety of galleries and the knowledgeable, independent art and craft suppliers described in the leaflet. You will even see a railway print by David Shepherd at the railway station. In June local artists can be found through the Surrey Artists Open Studios program. The town is a base to see countryside painted by Birket Foster and Allingham, which came to define the English rural idyll. Visit the nearby Watts Gallery and Artists’ Village and the unique Watts Chapel at Compton.
You can view or download your own copy of the Art and Crafts in Godalming leaflet here at http://www.godalmingtogether.co.uk.