Mrs Booth the Shell Lady of Margate
Take a walk along The Harbour Arm in Margate and you will find The iconic ‘Shell Lady’ Statue looking out over the bay.
Unveiled in 2008, the 9ft bronze sculpture was created by local sculptress Ann Carrington who took her inspiration from the popular ‘Shell Ladies’ souvenirs sold in Margate.
Mrs Booth refers to Sophie Booth an artist and landlady of the boarding house JMW Turner used to stay in on his many visits to Margate. Quoted as saying “…dawn clouds to the east and glorious sunsets to the west…the loveliest skies in Europe…” it was here that Turner painted some of his most famous work.
While they did not marry, they lived as “Mr & Mrs Booth” for the last 20 years of his life. She was played by actress Marion Bailey in the movie ‘Mr Turner’ a portrayal of the artist’s later life, with Timothy Spall playing Turner.
The Turner connection in Margate is celebrated with the Contemporary Gallery which is built on the original site of Mrs Booth’s boarding house on the seafront at the start of the Harbour Arm.
The sculpture not only pays homage to the “Kiss me quick” souvenirs sold in the town but also to the love affair between one of Britain’s most famous artists and his landlady.
Read more about Ann Carrington’s Sculpture
For more information on JMW Turner read the Turner Society biography
Watch the MR. TURNER Official trailer