By the end of his long life and career, Watts had become one of the most famous painters in Britain and beyond. Although a distinguished and prolific portrait painter, his passion lay with large-scale ‘symbolical’ subject paintings and murals. He had many influential friends and patrons, but his relationship with the Royal Academy was uneasy for much of his life, although he eventually became a member in 1867. After a short, unsuccessful marriage to the actress Ellen Terry (who was 30 years his junior), he married the Scottish designer and ceramicist Mary Seton Fraser-Tytler in 1886. Seen as distancing him from certain friends, she was responsible for the construction of the Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, which holds the main body of his work.