Rottingdean Through Time – Chapter 9

Artists’ Impressions

Mid-Victorian Prints

The previous page features work by local artist Mick Bensley. His study of the old forge nicely complements the upper image on page 56.

These early prints are well known to local historians and collectors and are steel engravings by Newman & Co. of Railway Street, London. They date from around 1860. A complete set with this pair and some less common views of the village is contained in a booklet entitled Six Views of Rottingdean and its Neighbourhood, published when new by H. Tuppen of Rottingdean.

Pond idyll and North End House

The tranquillity of Rottingdean around a century ago as captured by Alfred Robert Quinton (1853-1934), an English watercolour artist known for his paintings of British villages and landscapes. Well over 2,000 of Quinton’s paintings were printed between 1904 and the time of his death. Many, like this one, were published as postcards by Salmon of Sevenoaks. The Elms is on the left and the tower of St Margaret’s church on the right.

North End House from the back. Painted in 1945 by Enid Bagnold. (Courtesy Comtesse Laurian d’Harcourt)

Philip Burne-Jones

Philip Burne-Jones (1861-1926) was the first child of Sir Edward Burne-Jones. In this charming study, on which is written ROTTINGDEAN Aug. 1897, he portrays his young nieces, Clare and Angela Mackail, probably at High Barn. Angela went on to become the novelist Angela Thirkell. In Three Houses (1931) she recalls happy childhood days in Rottingdean.

This beach scene, on which is written ‘The House the Sea eats’, dates from 1882 and was given to Enid Bagnold by Mrs Ernest Beard. (Both courtesy Countess Laurian d’Harcourt).

Clifftop and Green

In this rural idyll, on which the artist’s name is indistinct, the clifftop is far wider than today. The twin chimney stacks belong to Cliff House. In the distance, the coast road curves gently towards Saltdean. Since the pier is visible, the scene must date from after 1896.

The heart of the village is evocatively portrayed in this water-colour drawing by the prolific W. H. Borrow. The downs behind the church seem to have been given considerable extra height.

A Contrast in Styles

The young tree in the foreground in this striking representation, captioned ‘Burne Jones’s House, Rottingdean’ and initialled ‘D ME’, dates the drawing to the early 1930s – see the postcard on page 43, sent in 1934. It has since been removed.

This westward view of 1914 by Charles Ginner (1878-1952) is currently on sale as a card in the village. Cliffe House stands out, as do the backs of the properties in Manor Terrace and the row of properties in West Street. (Courtesy Worthing Borough Council)

A Tudor Corner and a Foreshore Scene

In the same style as the drawing of North End House on the previous page is this attractive depiction of part of Tudor Close. No artist’s name is given. The fact that the title refers to the ‘Close’ and not the ‘Hotel’ rules out most of the 1930s for its date.

W. H. Borrow has again taken some artistic licence here, this time with the height of the land and cliffs behind the buildings. The steps, too, seem wider than they actually are. The overall picture is, however, pleasing. The postcard was sent on 19 August 1913.

The Creamery

The Creamery was built in 1745, actually as a creamery. It is recorded as trading under that name as a guest house and café from 1895, continuing to do so for the best part of a century. Now the Coach House public house, it was previously a bar/restaurant trading as the Coach and Horses Restaurant, established by well-known entertainers Margo Henderson and her husband Sam (Somme) Kemp, both of whom died within days of each other in the summer of 2009.

These attractive drawings were published as publicity postcards by the Creamery’s proprietor.


Copyright © Douglas d’Enno, 2009

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