The Pier, Margate by James Webb (1868) - currently on show at the Turner Contemporary
This weekend the VV was lucky enough to take a trip to the seaside when she attended the opening of the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate.
Though Margate was once a grand seaside town about which Lillie Langtry sang (listen to a sample here) and to which Victorian visitors flocked in their hundreds of thousands, nowadays it is somewhat in decline. But, it is hoped that this wonderful new gallery will inspire reinvestment and renovation - and Margate still has an undoubted charm, boasting some beautiful houses and one of the loveliest beaches and skylines that you could wish to see.
The Turner Contemporary (the second building from the left in this photograph) looks directly over the sea, and what's more it is built on the very spot where the artist J.M.W.Turner once used to stay in a guest house, where the favours of his more than accommodating landlady, Sophia Booth, may have enhanced the opinion written to the art critic John Ruskin that ‘…the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe.’
The New Moon by JMW Turner
Waves Breaking on Lee Shore by JMW Turner
Indeed, more than 100 of Turner’s paintings were inspired by the East Kent coast of which The New Moon and Waves Breaking on Lee Shore at Margate (both circa 1840) are very fine examples.
The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains in the island of St Vincent, based on a sketch by Hugh P. Keane.
For now the only work by Turner to adorn the new gallery's walls is The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains - shown above - but from January 2012 the Turner Contemporary will be hosting an extensive exhibition of watercolours and major paintings to be called Turner and the Elements, an event for which the VV is already planning another visit to Margate.
Self portrait by JMW Turner (1775-1851)