“A painted surface is a real, living form.” – Kazimir Malevich
‘It is no exaggeration to say the Watts Cemetery Chapel is one of the most beautiful, extraordinary, original, marvellous and magical buildings in the whole of the British Isles!’ — Lucinda Lambton
Landscape, art and remembrance are beautifully blended together in this Grade I listed building. Visitors are drawn to the bright red brick of this Arts & Crafts masterpiece. Up close, the extraordinary design and decoration both fascinate and overwhelm all who venture up the winding yew tree paths.
Mary Watts was the artistic force behind the creation of Watts Chapel, and she dedicated it to ‘the loving memory of all who find rest near its walls, and for the comfort and help of those to whom the sorrow of separation remains.’ G F and Mary Watts both rest in Watts Cemetery, as do many other people who have played a role in the Artists’ Village over the years.
In 1895 Mary began to run evening Terracotta Classes at Limnerslease, the Wattses’ nearby residence and studio. At these classes Mary would teach local villagers how to model tiles from local terracotta clay with the beautiful and symbolic patterns that she had designed to decorate the walls of the Chapel.
G F Watts financed the building of the Chapel through painting commissioned portraits, and the Wattses presented it as their gift to the village of Compton. Watts Chapel remains a working village parish chapel to this day.
Watts Chapel: A Guide to the Symbols of Mary Watts’s Arts and Crafts Masterpiece
The Making of Mary Seton Watts by Mary McMahon
An Artists’ Village: G F Watts and Mary Watts at Compton by Mark Bills
Compton Parish Church
Watts Cemetery, which surrounds Watts Chapel, is more than 120 years old and was conceived and laid out by Mary Watts between 1895 and 1898 with the help of Compton Parish Council.
Watts Cemetery has been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens at a Grade II* listing by English Heritage, the second highest grade that can be bestowed, meaning it is protected from inappropriate development. The exceptional Arts & Crafts gravestones and cloister give the space a unique and emotive atmosphere. With much thanks to Beauty of the Arts
spend a few minutes being mesmerized by the Hummers
I just love Hummingbirds. Their dazzling wings and swift movements remind me of gloriously clad angels. And like angels they appeal to the spiritual side of my nature. I can’t cease to wonder at the beauty of nature and all it has to offer. Who can doubt there’s a divine plan for ourselves and all creatures, when watching a tiny humming bird. They are so tiny, so exquisite that we are simply mesmerized by them. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth’s creatures before we lose them forever. Yes, even the tiny hummingbirds we can lose if we destroy their habitat. We’ve been homo sapiens for a long time. Now it’s time to become homo conscious.
Our love and admiration for the Earth and her beauty has the power to unite us and remove all boundaries, separation and discrimination. We have all suffered, for too long, centuries of individualism and competition that have brought about tremendous destruction and alienation for other creatures and the Earth itself. We need to re-establish true communication–true communion–with ourselves, with the Earth, and with one another as children of the same mother.
In the light of today’s world, where war is waging on so many continents, I would like to bring you hope. I offer here the Tibetan legend of The Shambhala Warrior as told by Nicholas Roerich. His version of the legend is close, I would say, to the original tale held so dear by the people of Tibet. I cannot publish the entire legend, due to it being under copyright. Thus, a small excerpt will have to do. I highly recommend that you visit the website posted below, to read the rest of the tale. This beautiful legend and other writings/photos/art-work offered there, are remarkable as well as informative: an adventure into the mystical realms of the Tibetans, during a time of peace in their country.
Shambhala Warrior Legend – Small Excerpt
“Lama, tell me of Shambhala!” “But you Westerners know nothing about Shambhala—you wish to know nothing. Probably you ask only out of curiosity; and you pronounce this sacred word in vain.”
“Lama, I do not ask about Shambhala aimlessly. Everywhere, people know of this great symbol under different names. Our scientists seek each spark concerning this remarkable realm. Csoma de Koros knew of Shambhala, when he made his prolonged visit to the Buddhist monasteries. Grunwedel translated the book of the famous Tashi Lama, Pal-den ye -she, about ‘The Way to Shambhala.’ We sense how, under secret symbols, a great truth is concealed. Truly, the ardent scientist desires to know all about Kalachakra.”
“Can this be so, when some of your Western people desecrate our temples? They smoke within our holy sanctuaries; they neither understand nor wish to venerate our faith and our teaching. They mock and deride the symbols whose meaning they do not penetrate. Should we visit your temples, our conduct would be completely different, because your great Bodhisattva, Issa, is verily an exalted one. And none of us would defame the teaching of mercy and righteousness.”
“Lama, only the very ignorant and stupid would ridicule your teaching. All the teachings of righteousness are as in one sacred place. And each one possessed of his senses, will not violate the sacred places. Lama, why do you think that the essential teaching of the Blessed One is unknown to the West? Why do you believe that in the West we do not know of Shambhala?
“Lama, upon my very table you may see the Kalachakra, the Teaching brought by the great Atticha from India. I know that if a high spirit, already prepared, hears a voice proclaiming Kalagiya it is the call to Shambhala. We know which Tashi Lama visited Shambhala. We know the book of the High Priest, T’aishan —‘The Red Path to Shambhala.’ We even know the Mongolian song about Shambhala. Who knows—perhaps we even know many things new to you. We know that quite recently a young Mongolian lama issued a new book about Shambhala.”
The Lama studies us with his piercing glance. Then he says:
“Great Shambhala is far beyond the ocean. It is the mighty heavenly domain. It has nothing to do with our earth. How and why do you earthly people take interest in it? Only in some places, in the Far North, can you discern the resplendent rays of Shambhala.”
“Lama, we know the greatness of Shambhala. We know the reality of this indescribable realm. But we also know about the reality of the earthly Shambhala. We know how some high lamas went to Shambhala, how along their way they saw the customary physical things. We know the stories of the Buryat lama, of how he was accompanied through a very narrow secret passage. We know how another visitor saw a caravan of hill-people with salt from the lakes, on the very borders of Shambhala. Moreover, we ourselves have seen a white frontier post of one of the three outposts of Shambhala. So, do not speak to me about the heavenly Shambhala only, but also about the one on earth; because you know as well as I, that on earth Shambhala is connected with the heavenly one. And in this link, the two worlds are unified.” The Lama becomes silent. With eyes half concealed by the lids, he examines our faces. And in the evening dusk, he commences his tale: “Verily, the time is coming when the Teaching of the Blessed One will once again come from the North to the South. The word of Truth, which started its great path from Bodhigaya, again shall return to the same sites. We must accept it simply, as it is: the fact that the true teaching shall leave Tibet, and shall again appear in the South. And in all countries, the covenants of Buddha shall be manifested. Really, great things are coming. You come from the West, yet you are bringing news of Shambhala. We must take it verily so. Probably the ray from the tower of Rigden-jyepo has reached all countries.
“Like a diamond glows the light on the Tower of Shambhala. He is there—Rigden-jyepo, indefatigable, ever vigilant in the cause of mankind. His eyes never close. And in his magic mirror he sees all events of earth.
And the might of his thought penetrates into far-off lands. Distance does not exist for him; he can instantaneously bring assistance to worthy ones. His powerful light can destroy all darkness. His immeasurable riches are ready to aid all needy ones who offer to serve the cause of righteousness. He may even change the karma of human beings…”
“Lama, it seems to me that you speak of Maitreya; is it not so?”
“We must not pronounce this mystery! There is much which may not be revealed. There is much which may not be crystallized into sound. In sound we reveal our thought. In sound we project our thought into space and the greatest harm may follow. Because everything divulged before the destined date, results in untold harm. Even the greatest catastrophes may be provoked by such light-minded acts. If Rigden-jyepo and the Blessed Maitreya are one and the same for you—let it be so. I have not so stated!
“Uncountable are the inhabitants of Shambhala. Numerous are the splendid new forces and achievements which are being prepared there for humanity…”
“Lama, the Vedanta (Holy Scriptures), tells us that very soon new energies shall be given to humanity. Is this true?”
“Innumerable are the great things predestined and prepared. Through the Holy Scriptures we know of the Teaching of the Blessed One about the inhabitants of the distant stars. From the same source we have heard of the flying steel bird . . . about iron serpents which devour space with fire and smoke. Tathagata, the Blessed One, predicted all for the future. He knew how the helpers of Rigden-jyepo would be reincarnated in due time; how the sacred army would purge Lhassa of all its nefarious enemies; and how the realm of righteousness would be established.”
“Lama, if the great warriors are incarnated, will not the activities of Shambhala take place here on our earth?”
“Everywhere—here and in heaven. All benevolent forces shall come together to destroy the darkness. Each one who will help in this great task shall be rewarded a hundred-fold and upon this very earth, in this incarnation. All sinners against Shambhala will perish in this very incarnation, because they have exhausted mercy.”
-Nicholas Roerich – (The entire legend is on his website listed at the end of the post.)
Monks photographed during a visit to Tibet January – May 1928
More on The Secrets of Shambhala can be found on the Nicholas Roerich Museum website. Here you will find the detailed writings of Shambhala the Resplendent, as told by the author. Also there is a large collection of art-work from his travels in Tibet. ~ Who is Nicholas Roerich? Here are a few notes:
(About the book Shambhala the Resplendent)
The artist’s eye and philosopher’s spirit which are Roerich’s, are as a magnet. Drawn by their power, there flows into Roerich’s being a stream of experiences which he is able to transmute into beauty by that spiritual alchemy which is possessed by the teachers of men.
In “Shambhala the Resplendent,” Roerich has recorded the way of his journey through Central Asia and Tibet in the terms of spirit. It is a record of legends, of parables, of notes—the very substance of which the larger reality is composed, and all revealing different facets of the theme of Shambhala. In this book—as in his other books, “Altai-Himalaya” and “Heart of Asia,” one realizes that Roerich’s vision is manifold. Traveling on his way, he discerns all the beauty of the natural spectacle through which he passes. And in his works—as in his paintings— he records this panorama in successive sparks which flow into a continuous pageantry. But in addition, Roerich perceives also that subtler manifestation of the countries and peoples through which he journeys. He discerns their thoughts; he perceives the pulsating, throbbing hopes and beliefs that sweep like winds across space. And it is this record—so little visible to the many of us— that becomes the vital force of Roerich’s message.
One must remark the style of Roerich—it has the unrepeatable quality and synthesis of life. He transmits to us the essentials and we discern that these fragments of seeming fantasy are weaving themselves into a pattern of essential truth and essential beauty.
Roerich has named this book, “Shambhala, the Resplendent” advisedly. Reading it, one realizes that Roerich has woven a wreath which he has offered in full reverence to the great Principle which is Shambhala, the New Era; for truly it is the salutary wind of people’s thought and faith which will aid the fires of Shambhala. And once again, as in all the deeds of his inexhaustible creative fervor, Roerich’s “Shambhala, the Resplendent” pronounces the evocation of the fires of new human achievement and a new human destiny.
Nicholas Roerich died in Kullu on December 13, 1947. His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand works.
Inspired by and featuring the Artwork of Nicholas Roerich, a true artist.
The music is a bit loud, I would suggest you use half volume.