I am excited to announce the launch of our newest leaflet trail, based on extracts from letters Vincent van Gogh sent to his brother, Theo in 1876 during his short stay in Ramsgate. The Trail is called ‘Following in the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh’ (thanks to Jacqui Ansell for the great title!) and does exactly what the title suggests!
As many of you will know, Vincent van Gogh (1853 -1890) was an avid letter writer throughout his short life and when he stayed in Ramsgate, he took no respite from his preferred method of communication, writing mainly to his brother but also to his parents and other relatives, often ‘copying and pasting’ information but always tailoring them to the recipient. He wrote around 10 letters during his stay in Ramsgate but referenced the town in several letters afterwards.
The trail is approximately 1.6 miles and takes you on a short journey from Spencer Square down to the harbour and continues along the inner marina, ending at the Main Sands. The steps include extracts from his letters to Theo including my favourite extracts ‘These are really happy days, the ones I’m spending here’ and ‘This town has something very singular, one notices the sea in everything, but you know this special quality too’. Later in the year when he had left Ramsgate he also wrote ‘If you cannot love a person, love the place in which you live, don’t I love Paris and London even though I’m a child of the pine-woods and of that beach at Ramsgate?’
On the back of the leaflet we have also included a link to a longer trail which takes you out to Pegwell Bay which is approximately 6.1 miles one-way.
We already offer a similar trail (Contra Trail link) which you can pick up from Location Key 5 on the shorter trail. Vincent describes this walk to Theo in his letter dated 28th April 1876.
Vincent van Gogh produced two sketches of the view from Mr Stoke’s School at 6 Royal Road which we have included in the trail leaflet. One of these sketches (which are both very small so they could fit into an envelope!) recently appeared in the Tate exhibition in 2019.
Special thanks go to Heritage Lottery Fund who funded the leaflet as part of the Vincent in Ramsgate project from 2019, Ramsgate Society for their support and for applying for the funding, Lesley Gray for her image of Vincent for the front cover and Brian Whitehead for many of the images included in this leaflet. And last but not least, my thanks go to Keith Ross from Critical Art for his design skills and imagination (not to mention patience!), producing this vibrant leaflet that Vincent would have definitely approved of.
Copies of the new trail are available from the Visitor Information Centre and various businesses throughout the town. You can also download the trail here.
The trail will also be uploaded to the Useeum app in the next few days. You can find out more about the Useeum app by visiting your preferred playstore to download it for free at:
If you want to read more about Vincent van Gogh’s Ramsgate-based letters, visit http://www.vangoghletters.org and type ‘Ramsgate’ in the search bar at the top of the page.
Please also visit www.vangoghmuseum.nl to discover more about Vincent van Gogh’s artwork.
This leaflet has been produced as part of the Vincent in Ramsgate project. Look out for the release of the ‘Vincent in Ramsgate’ book, written by local art historian, Jacqui Ansell, which will be published later on in 2021.
Ramsgate Town Promoter
On behalf of Ramsgate Town Council