The Duchess had two engagements in Margate, Kent today. The weather was bright and brisk as Kate arrived in the seaside community, located on the English Channel.
The first stop: the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. The Gallery is considered to have played a vital role in Margate’s rebirth and rejuvenation.
Kate had a tour of the Gallery and met local dignitaries and Gallery trustees.
The Turner is named for the artist JMW Turner, who often stayed/lived in Margate. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Turner, he is one of Britain’s most celebrated artists. From the Gallery’s website:
Turner’s connection with Margate was the founding inspiration for our organisation. He loved Margate for the sea, the skies, and his landlady Mrs Booth.
More than 100 of Turner’s works, including some of his most famous seascapes, were inspired by the East Kent coast. Margate was the starting point for his visits to Europe, and a love of the sea stayed with him all his life.
While the late artist Thomas Kinkade marketed himself as the ‘painter of light” and trademarked that phrase, it is Mr. Turner who was actually the original artist referred to as the “painter of light.” The Duchess spoke with artists whose work is currently on display.
Kate viewed the current exhibit, Self: Image and Identity. The show is a partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is patron. One of the key pieces in the exhibition: a self-portrait done by Sir Anthony van Dyck. It is the last self-portrait the Flemish artist did.
Kate appeared somewhat perplexed when looking at this item in the exhibit, titled Self Portrait as a Drowned Man. From The Daily Mail’s Story:
…it was an eerily realistic body made out of silicone that really caught the Duchess’ eye, prompting a startled Kate to exclaim: ‘Oh my goodness, what’s that?’ The work has apparently caused quite a stir worldwide thanks to its realism.
More on this particular part of the exhibit from The Daily Mirror:
Kate couldn’t disguise her surprise at seeing the body on the floor of the Turner Contemporary art gallery, exclaiming: “Oh my goodness, what’s that?!”
The eerily realistic body was made out of silicone by local artist Jeremy Millar entitled ‘Self Portrait as a Drowned Man’ and has caused ‘quite a stir’ worldwide as it is so unbelievably realistic.
Kate’s second appointment was at Resort Studios, about a half-mile away from the Turner. Resort Studios is an arts organization located in a restored Victorian warehouse that offers “individual studios, shared facilities, workshop areas and exhibition space.”
The Duchess met artists, toured the studio facilities and viewed works created at the studios. Here you see Kate with 11-year-old Martin Slepcikova, who is putting together a project about Slovakia, where he is from. All of Martin’s photos were taken in Croatia; local artist Alex Sturock is helping Martin put together his montage.
Kate also did a walkabout.
A good-sized crowd waited for a few hours, in hope of meeting the Duchess or at least seeing her up close. The Duchess seemed to thoroughly enjoy greeting the well-wishers.
One of the local media companies, The Thanet Gazette, made special rompers saying “Everyone Loves an Extra.”
The babygrows/onesies were a popular item. More from Kent Online:
We’re hearing the Thanet Extra team were successful in their mission to give the Duchess a babygrow for her new arrival.
Kate happily accepted the item, emblazoned with the message “Everyone loves an Extra” for baby number two.
The text is presumably a play on the phrase “An heir and a spare,” an expression some use in reference to Kate and William’s second child; Prince George is the heir to the throne, the Cambridges’ next child is deemed a ‘spare.’
For the day’s engagements, Kate repeated her Dalmatian Print Mac coat by Hobbs.
Many readers will remember her first wearing the coat in June of 2013 at the official naming of the Royal Princess in Southampton.
The coat is a linen/rayon blend. Hobbs originally described the garment this way:
Dalmatian is the print of the season. Be stylish and animal friendly with the Hobbs Dalmatian coat – a minimalist design that lets the print make the statement.
Kate had on a black dress underneath her coat.
The material looks like a lightweight crepe, possibly with a lining. My initial thought was that it could be the Topshop dress worn when the Duke and Duchess visited the Child Bereavement Center in March of 2013.
But without better photos showing more of the dress it’s impossible to tell precisely what Kate is wearing beneath her coat.
The Duchess accessorized with her black suede Power pumps by Stuart Weitzman. The shoe remains available in a broad selection of sizes online at Stuart Weitzman, it is $355.
She carried her Mulberry clutch.
Kate put her hair in a ponytail, a wise choice in light of the winds in Margate.
It very much looked like the Duchess was enjoying herself. The focus of today’s visits dovetails perfectly with her art studies at Saint Andrews University.
A few quick retail notes for you, the first regarding Kate’s Corkswoon wedges by Stuart Weitzman.
The wedges appear to be available again in almost all sizes at Stuart Weitzman, including Kate’s ‘Nice Blue’ color. They are also offered in ‘Pyrite Nocturn‘ and ‘Caramel Leo Raffia‘. All three pair run $398.
A reminder that tomorrow Kate visits the set of Downton Abbey and meets some of the show’s stars. It seems several are excited about the Duchess visiting; one is even making a cake! More from Breaking News Ireland:
Hugh Bonneville has talked about the excitement on set at Downton Abbey in anticipation of a royal visit from the Duchess of Cambridge.
He said: “We’re all very excited. Mrs Patmore is baking a cake and we’re all bringing in sandwiches. It’s going to be a show and tell day.”
We’ll see you tomorrow.
- The Turner Contemporary Gallery’s website is here, you can learn more about the Self: Image and Identity exhibit here, Mr. Lion exhibit info may be seen here, the charity’s Facebook page is here and its Twitter feed is here
- Resort Studios website is here, its Facebook page is here, its Instagram page is here, and its Twitter feed is here
- If interested in learning more about Mr. Turner, the National Gallery’s pages dedicated to the artist may be seen here, the Tate’s pages are here, and the Met’s page is here,
- For local coverage of the events Kent Online’s rolling blog and photo gallery is here, there are also some videos at that link you might enjoy, just scroll fdown through the coverage. The Isle of Thanet Gazette’s photo gallery is here, the Kent News article and photo gallery is here,
- Victoria Murphy’s story in The Daily Mirror is here, The Daily Mail’s photo-laden coverage by Ruth Styles & Rebecca English is here, Richard Palmer’s story in The Express is here
- BBC Southeast posted a 3-minute video on its Facebook page of today’s events, ITV Meridian’s coverage is here,
- To read a very good piece about the Turner Gallery and Margate itself, click here for Jonathan Lorie’s article in The Guardian