Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tissot Revised and the Blue Plaques for Ramsgate.

This is another question about art this time it is unquestionably art, the question however is where that art took place, after my post about this last Saturday see there has been a certain about of debate about where Tissot painted his pictures of Ramsgate from.

I can only say that I am afraid I was mistaken in my previous post when I said it was the Castle Hotel and that it was in fact The Royal Albion Hotel, this was the building – now demolished – that stood on the site of the building where Pizza Express is now and was purpose built to house The National Westminster Bank.

Several things worried me about my previous assumption, one being that Tissot was unlikely to reproduce the same artistic license over the shape of the windows in several paintings and drawings.

Another was would have stayed at The Castle when he could have stayed at The Royal Albion Hotel or The Royal Hotel?

Another was the position of the Police Office and the Harbour Trustees Committee House on the other side of the road, shouldn’t part of theses have shown up in the pictures.

Anyway the pictures say it all really, right windows, unobstructed view and right class of hotel.

Click on the link for some more


  1. Well spotted, a great bit of detective work there Michael. Columbo would be so proud! Many thanks indeed

  2. Well spotted, a great bit of detective work there Michael. Columbo would be so proud! Many thanks indeed

  3. Lovely sleuth work, Michael.

    Tissot's work required an eye, insight and technical skill and whilst dumbed down by talentless walkers, TC directors and 'soiled bed' modernists as 'photographic' not one of them could produce work to match his. Turner himself would probably turn in his grave if he knew about 'walking' in squares on Margate Beach being associated with his name and work.

  4. By Jove I think you've got it!

  5. Thanks Michael for getting your teeth into the anomalies I suggested. I've been poring over my copy of a 1920s/30s panorama of Harbour Parade - but there is a whacking great sail in front of the balcony of the Royal Albion. The beautiful view you reproduce is a perfect match - so now we know where the plaque should go. A shame it will have to read 'the site of...'

    This is another example of John Lewis's advice to actually look at a place before writing the definitive history!

    I wonder if any of Tissot's diaries survive...?

  6. Perhaps we should have a Tissot Gallery here in ramsgate,but I don't think TDC would go along with that

  7. Frank I had considerable help from other historians and collectors on this one, so the credit mostly goes to the people who come into the bookshop with information and images to help solve the various riddles that our convoluted local history provides.

    Bertie a bit humbling really that I was ignorant enough to think that Tissot should have painted the wrong railings.

    Mac I hate to say this but the building had been replaced by the one we have now by the 1920s so the Nat West and not Royal Albion was hiding behind your sail.
    Derick can I draw your attention to the following webpage as you can see from the cartoon on it the idea has already been mooted.

  8. Which proves the point about looking and thinking before you open your mouth or commit anything to print - oops!

    Concentrating so much on detail that I missed the 'bleeding obvious'!

  9. Mac I also think that there is an aspect here that is very important and that is both to engage local people in the writing of what is their own history and to show them how mistakes are made, as one of the great problems with history is that much of it is conjecture based on available information and therefore not always right, just the best we can do.

    You either have no blue plaques or you risk having some on the wrong buildings the choice is a simple as that.

  10. You may have noticed that a blue plaque is now in place on the Pizza Express building.
    I have also presented a copy of 'A passing Storm', which now hangs in the resturant.
    The offical unveiling is to take place at 12 noon on Sunday 28th August, by Suzy Humphries of Ramsgate Arts, this will be durring the Summer Squall weekend.
    Please come along.....


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