Where renowned artist JMW Turner found the loveliest skies in all Europe.
Joseph Mallord William Turner first came to Margate at the age of 11. He stayed with a relative and attended school in Love Lane while his mother battled psychiatric illness in London.
In his latter years Turner would regularly travel by boat from London to lodge with a Captain Booth and his wife. Their guesthouse stood close to the back of the present Turner Contemporary, overlooking the sea and The Droit House (now the Visitor Information Centre).
Which bank note will Turner appear on from 2020? (Scroll down to reveal the answer)
When Captain Booth died in 1833, Turner adopted the ‘Booth’ name. Without the media coverage we experience today, celebrated Turner was able to live - and drink at many of the local pubs including the Northern Belle (along Mansion Street) - inconspicuously among his neighbours, before the pair (Turner and Mrs Booth) moved to Chelsea in 1847. Turner died four years later.
Sun and sea
The healing effects of an invigorating sea bath, brisk salt air and good nutrition made north-facing Margate a popular destination for the sick to come and recuperate. The clean air is also said to be the reason why Margate has such wonderful sunsets. Turner was fascinated and once remarked to influential writer and art critic John Ruskin that “…the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”.
Views of East Kent and Margate feature in over 100 of his paintings.
Joseph Mallord William Turner.Margate Exh. 1808. © Tate, Photo © Tate.CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported). www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-margate-t03876
Joseph Mallord William Turner. Margate, Setting Sun c. 1806–7. © Tate, Photo © Tate.CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-margate-n02700
Joseph Mallord William Turner.Waves Breaking on a Lee Shore at Margate (Study for ‘Rockets and Blue Lights’) c.1840.© Tate, Photo © Tate.CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported).www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-waves-breaking-on-a-lee-shore-at-margate-study-for-rockets-and-blue-lights-n02882
Margate main sands also attracts wintering birds such as Turnstones. These birds are easily scared away by people and/or dogs. Watch this short film shot by local teenagers explaining why you shouldn’t disturb roost sites.
This area is designated as a Marine Protected Area and a New Marine Conservation Zone for features that include blue mussel beds and stalked jellyfish. Major storms and a history of shipwrecks are also a characteristic of this part of the Thanet coastline. Margate’s relatively new stepped sea defence will provide greater protection to the town during future flood risk episodes.
Turnstone. Credit Willie McKnight
Credit Tony Child
Below is an interactive map of Discovery Points you can explore with friends and family. A red point shows your location. Start exploring by clicking the blue points of places and items related to the red point
The most famous self portrait of JMW Turner - aged 24 - will appear on the £20 note by 2020.