oil and house painter and signwriter, was born on 8 November 1834 in Findsbury, Kent, son of Anthony Watts, a solicitor, and his wife Mary Ann. Watts came to New South Wales in the Catherine Jamieson , arriving on 5 January 1853. He settled at West Maitland where he had the town’s first painting, paperhanging and signwriting business. He specialised in painting and decorating shop windows but also painted pictures, mainly in oils, and was, according to his obituary, 'an artist by profession’. In 1861 he won a certificate of recommendation at the Maitland Industrial School Exhibition for his painting on glass.

The business was not very successful. Watts was declared insolvent in 1864 and again in 1874. A large family doubtless contributed to his financial problems. On 20 November 1854 he had married Ann Cavenagh (1834 78) in the Congregationalist Church at West Maitland and they had twelve children. After Ann died, he married Elizabeth Baird (1838 1900) on 5 April 1879 at St Michael’s Church of England, Surry Hills; they had a son and probably a daughter. Watts died at Maitland on 22 April 1925, aged ninety-five, and was buried in Campbell’s Hill Church of England Cemetery, West Maitland. Only two of his fourteen children survived him. An obituary published in the Maitland Weekly Mercury on 25 April 1925 stated that several of his shop decorations, including 'examples of his creative art’ painted about fifty years earlier, were still in evidence in the town.

Staff Writer
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