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Oil painting – Leas Shelter

Date made: 1900 (circa)

Maker / artist: James Williamson

Material: metal, leather, wood

Period: Victorian

Accession number: F3764

Leas Shelter, Folkestone
In this oil painting by James Williamson we see the Leas Shelter, with its panoramic view of the Lower Leas, Folkestone beach, harbour and English Channel. Here many of Folkestone’s fashionable visitors gathered to enjoy the sunshine, conversation, a fine sea view and some light refreshment. Below was a steep drop down to the Lower Leas and the beach, reached by the Zig Zag path. The Victoria Pier can clearly be seen, with a cross-channel steamer just leaving Folkestone Harbour in the distance. Visitors are already on the beach, with some paddling or swimming in the sea. Several sailing fishing boats have just left harbour. Just visible, at the top of the beach, are the humpback curves of the Switchback Railway an early wooden rollercoaster, from which the shrieks of the people enjoying a ride could clearly be heard on the Leas above.

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