George Frederick Watts OM RA (1817 - 1904) was a British artist known in his time as ‘England’s Michelangelo’. His vast range of works spans from Choosing (1864), a dainty portrait of his 17-year-old wife Ellen Terry now at the National Portrait Gallery, to Physical Energy (1902), a powerful bronze statue, a copy of which is installed at Kensington Gardens. Watts was influenced by the work of contemporary Pre-Raphaelite co-founder Dante Gabriel Rossetti but the dreamlike quality of his brush, relatively unusual in a Royal Academician of the mid-Victorian age, also paved the way for later Symbolism. The artist’s fame waned in the twentieth century but nowadays his posthumous reputation has acquired new vigour since it was revealed that President Barack Obama’s influential slogan ‘Yes, We Can’ took inspiration from Watts’s picture Hope (1886). An allegorical work showing a blindfolded woman playing a one-stringed lyre on top of the world, the image had also provided solace to Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned at Robben Island. Watts made a remarkable painting after Keats’s Endymion, now at the Watts Gallery in Surrey.