George Frederick Watts was born on February 23, 1817 in Marylebone, London, United Kingdom. He was the eldest child of George Watts, a poor piano-maker and tuner, and Harriet Smith, who was his second wife and a daughter of Frederic Smith.
George's paternal grandfather, who had the same name, was a cabinet-maker settled down in London in the mid-1790s.
Watts lost his mother when he was a nine-year old. Her three sons, Watts’ brothers, didn’t survive to adulthood. George Frederick had also a half-brother, Thomas and two half-sisters, Maria and Harriet born from the first Watts’s father marriage.
George Frederick Watts revealed his drawing talent, encouraged by his father, in the early childhood creating multiple sketches and copies of engravings.