Saturday, 27 February 2010

Tissot Ramsgate, A Passing Storm, blue plaques and local history.

As some of you are probably aware the Ramsgate Society is involved in a scheme to put up blue plaques on buildings in Ramsgate to commemorate famous peoples associations with the town.
James Tissot painted at least two paintings in Ramsgate from a room overlooking the harbour and I think I have narrowed this down to The Castle Hotel.
There are a number of factors here, the height of the balcony relative to the harbour and the angle of the views pretty much has to make it Harbour Parade, the shallow bay windows, the distinctive balcony railings, the distinctive wooden sunshade beneath the roof of the balcony and the absence of any other similar building in the right place.

The link takes you to some old photographs of Harbour Parade I think it quite likely that my deductions here may lead to a blue plaque, so any corrections would be much appreciated.


  1. When we (that is to say Liz Gilmour)obtained permission from the Beaverbrook Gallery to use "A Passing Storm" for the 1997 Ramsgate Spring Festival the very popular poster version had the 'house detectives' out in force.

    We came to the conclusion that, from the relative position of the West Pier Lighthouse, its setting must be Harbour Parade, and very probably The Castle Hotel. However, some things are not quite right. The detail of the railings varies - they appear to be a three dimensional, possibly stone balustrade balustrade, in "The Room Overlooking the Harbour" and the design doesn't quite match the railings that survive today. This could be artistic licence or just that, from a sketch, these were as close as it mattered when the work was completed in the studio. What is more confusing is the design and shape of the windows and doors. The Castle has, and appears in your photos always to have had, splayed bay windows - Tissot paints a flat frontage with a split door/window opening on to the centre of the balcony. He appears to treat architectural detail accurately in his other works - so why not here?

    There are two other sketches of this room by Tissot, one in the Tate collections, the other can be seen in the online gallery of which you have cited. Titled simply - "Ramsgate".

    I'm glad I'm not the only one to have suggested 'blue plaque' recognition of this first division artist's stay in Ramsgate.

  2. Link for "Ramsgate 1876" at the Tate:

  3. SPOT ON THAT MAN. I find this more artistic than people walking but then I am a Luddite if there is such a thing in art.


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