Vine Inn at Cowes”
This view shows what is now the main landing place at Cowes, (mislabelled on the original mount as East Cowes), Isle of Wight, at low water. The Vine Inn (centre) was considered the principal inn in the town at this date and it had the best slipway. It was the focus of much activity – the oldest Freemason's lodge on the Island was meeting here at least as early as 1761 and it was one of the hostelries chosen for its annual dinner at Cowes by The Yacht Club (now the Royal Yacht Squadron) between its foundation in 1815 and 1825 when it leased its first clubhouse on the Parade (it was not to move to The Castle, its present location, until 1858).
Visible in the left of the picture are ships being built – this was the famous Ratsey shipyard, which was to build many yachts for Royal Yacht Squadron members and others. It is now home to many modern yachts as it is the site of the Marina.
It was from an enterprise at the Vine that Cowes was to develop its reputation as a saltwater bathing place and thus attract the type of affluent visitors who were to found The Yacht Club. In the 1750's Mary Taylor invested £25 in building a bathing house at the Vine so that a poet was able to write in 1760:
'No more to foreign baths shall Britains [sic] roam, But plunge at Cowes and find rich health at home'
Price (mounted): £75 (+ V.A.T. where applicable)
Original purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Art Collections Fund.
Published by Maritime Prints & Originals at www.thomasrowlandson.com and www.thomasrowlandson.co.uk