East India Coffee and American Coffee Rooms at the Albion Hotel and Assembly Rooms, Ramsgate.
Watercolour and ink on sturdy, beige card, unsigned.
English Naive School, early 19th century.
From the Klaus J. Jacobs Collection.
We believe this painting to be of The Albion Hotel in Ramsgate, Kent. An old print shows that the hotel was located on the corner of Goldsmid Place, and indeed a boutique hotel still exists on this spot. Built in 1791 the hotel overlooks the Royal Harbour, given this status by King George IV as a gift for the hospitality he received when visiting Ramsgate in 1820.
In Great Britain and Ireland, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, assembly rooms were gathering places for members of the higher social classes open to members of both sexes. At that time most entertaining was done at home and there were few public places of entertainment open to both sexes besides theatres (and there were few of those outside London). Upper class men had more options, including coffee houses and later gentlemen's clubs.
Klaus Jacobs was a German businessman born into a well-known coffee dynasty in Bremen. After taking over the family business he found he had a talent for founding, running and acquiring businesses, through which he amassed a huge fortune and became one of the most important figures in the world's coffee and chocolate trades, and a great philanthropist. He died in 2008.
Sight: 15.5" x 11.5" ( 39cm x 29cm)
Frame: 20.5" x 16.5" (52cm x 42cm)