Completed South East England: Artists and Subjects, British 20th C, except portraits 13 Could this be the Royal Military Canal in Romney Marsh?

Military Canal
Topic: Subject or sitter

This must be between Rye and Appledore. The railway bridge of 1903 is at Warehorne.

see P. A. C. Vine, 'The Royal Military Canal'. An historical account of the waterway and military road from Shorncliffe in Kent to Cliff End in Sussex, Stroud, 2010, p.151

Warehorne is on the Hamstreet to Tenterden Road. Patrick Leyland, 'The Royal Military Canal, A Walk along the Historic Waterway, Portslade', 2012, p. 11, says that the railway bridge is green.

Looking at the map it is beyond Appledore – further north and close to where the canal turns east.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Alice Read,

The collection has provided the following new descriptions as a result of this discussion:
"The canal, seen near Warehorne, Kent, runs alongside a wood, with a bridge in the distance. The shapes of trees are simplified, with different shades of green denoting depth. on either side of the canal, felled trees, chopped wood and stumps cover the ground, and on the distant bridge, a cargo train trundles past."
"A slightly warped perspective from a bridge leading into a Martello tower. The circular tower courtyard seems to surround the viewer, its edges leading off either side of the canvas. Pale whites, ochres and dark browns dominate the canvas. The location has been identified as Slaughden, just south of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. That tower is now referred to as Tower CC."

These changes will appear on the Your Paintings website by the end of November 2014. Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.


I am sorry to be late in responding again to Martin's original comment but I had been hoping to hear back from the artist's son with firm information. However he is away at present on family business. I think there is no doubt that this painting is of the Royal Military Canal. I believe the artist was working on and around Romney Marsh in about 1951 and the two paintings gifted to Manchester City Galleries by her son, namely Military Canal and Martello Tower, are almost certainly painted in the area of Romney Marsh. I think from his research Martin has also pinpointed correctly the exact location of the railway bridge. I suggest we hold this discussion in abeyance for say another two weeks in case David Melland or anyone else with specific knowledge wishes to raise any further points.

Martin Hopkinson,

It is very difficult to pinpoint which Martello Tower was represented, but it is most likely one at Hythe where the Royal Military Canal starts

Alice Read,

Would the collection like me to add this information to a painting description?

Manchester Art Gallery,

Thanks Martin and Alice,
In the information that David Melland gave to us in 1997, he gives an extended alternative title to the picture 'Martello Tower': 'Martello Tower - Suffolk coast'. So I'll add that in to our description: thanks for drawing this omission to our attention.
Hannah Williamson, curator, collections access, Manchester City Galleries

Alice Read,

Are you happy for me to add the following?

In the information that the artist's son gave to the collection in 1997, he gives an extended alternative title to the picture 'Martello Tower': 'Martello Tower - Suffolk coast'. This suggests this work is of Royal Military Canal in Romney Marsh.

Tamara Cartwright-Loebl,

Please forgive my ignorance but I fail to see how this painting can be of both Romney Marsh and the Suffolk Coast.

Martin Hopkinson,

There are two different works under discussion here - the Military Canal [which is certainly a view of Romney Marsh], and a painting of a Martello Tower, which David Melland has told Manchester City Art Gallery has a title which places the tower on the Suffolk Coast

Martin Hopkinson,

The Martello Tower is almost certainly at Slaughden, Aldeburgh, the largest and probably the most impressive of all the Martello Towers, which has a very distinctive 'trefoil' appearance of three towers joined together

Martin Hopkinson,

This tower is now owned by the Landmark Trust and sleeps 4! It is discussed by Sheila Sutcliffe, Martello Towers, 1972, a book which I have not yet seen

Many thanks to Martin Hopkinson for his additional comments. I have spoken with the artist's son this morning and he confirms that the Military Canal painting is the Royal Military Canal in Romney Marsh but he does not know the exact location of the subject. Mr Melland also confirms that the Martello Tower painting held by Manchester City Galleries indeed depicts the Martello Tower at Slaughden, just south of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. That tower is now referred to as Tower CC.