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Welcome to Margate … translated.

Margate in Kent, a popular seaside resort since the 18th century, is possibly best known these days as the town where artist Tracy Emin grew up. But did you know that it was home to J.M.W. Turner?

“Where therefore, and in this very town of Margate, [Turner] lived, when he chose to be quit of London, and yet not to travel” John Ruskin

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_harbour,_Margate,_KeAlthough I wasn’t thinking of Turner when I discovered this photograph of Margate and its harbour dated 1897 (Wikimedia), I might have been ‘channelling’ him!

"Mrs Booth", sculpture by Ann Carrington, Stone Pier, Margate

“Mrs Booth”, sculpture by Ann Carrington, Stone Pier, Margate [Wikimedia]

The Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate writes that ‘Turner’s connection with Margate was the founding inspiration for our organisation. He loved Margate for the sea, the skies, and his landlady Mrs Booth.’ Don’t you just love it that he was potty about his landlady!

Visit Thanet gives some interesting snippets about Margate:

  • In the 1700s, bathing in the sea and drinking seawater became a fashionable cure for all sorts of diseases. From the Georgian period onwards visitors from London began flocking to resorts like Margate for the seawater cure and increasingly as a place to socialise. Margate has built a reputation as a place for bathing in the sea – both for health and pleasure.
  • Margate has a special place in the history of the ‘Bathing Machine’ with Benjamin Beale inventing the modest hood in 1753. This canvas canopy could be lowered and raised by the driver of the machine, allowing bathers a modicum of privacy as well as some protection from wind and waves.
    A man opening the door of a woman's bathing machine, the wom Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A man opening the door of a woman's bathing machine, the woman in side looks shocked and angry; the man claims he thought it was his machine. Coloured lithograph by Br. Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    A man opening the door of a woman’s bathing machine. [Wikimedia]

  • Whilst in Margate recuperating from a nervous breakdown, TS Eliot sat at the Grade II listed shelter on Margate seafront and composed the key lines in his poem ’The Waste Land’ – “On Margate Sands./I can connect/Nothing with nothing./The broken fingernails of dirty hands./My people humble people who expect/Nothing”.
  • Margate, was the first place to offer and popularise donkey rides on the beach, starting back in the early 1800s.

So now you know!

Available at the following galleries:
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Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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