|Percy Robertson R.E. (1869-1934)|
The Great Eastern Railway Company's Hotel.
Watercolour and collage.
8 1/4 x 29 inches.
The Great Eastern Railway Company's Liverpool Street Hotel, London.
This is the original watercolour design commissioned by the Great Eastern Railway Company for an advertisement for their Liverpool Street Hotel & Abercorn Rooms. Percy Robertson also produced a large watercolour showing the exterior of the hotel which was reproduced as a postcard advertising the hotel. He also designed advertising postcards for other London hotels including The Hotel Metropole and The Midland Hotel, St Pancras, also published around 1905.
Built in 1884, the Great Eastern Hotel is one of London's great railway hotels and is situated immediately south of Liverpool Street Station. The redbrick Victorian building was designed by the brothers Charles Barry, Jr and Edward Middleton Barry. It now operates as the luxurious 5 Star Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel. The hotel underwent an extensive renovation and expansion between 1899 and 1901 when the Abercorn Rooms were added, designed by Robert William Edis. This watercolour shows the entrance to the Abercorn Rooms.
The Victorian building that houses the hotel is built on the site of England's first hospital for the mentally ill - the Bethlehem Royal Hospital, which opened in 1247 and was often pronounced as 'bedlam'. The Great Eastern Hotel was also notable for its inclusion of two Masonic Temples; an Egyptian temple in the basement and a Grecian temple on the first floor.
After becoming established as hotel in the heart of London its clientele included business people who could avoid city traffic by staying near the railway station. Incredibly for its discerning, wealthy guests a daily supply of fresh sea water for bathing was brought by train.
If you are a fan of the Gothic Novel then you may know that The Great Eastern is where vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing stays during his first visit to London in Bram Stoker's Gothic horror novel Dracula.
Percy Robertson R.E. (1869-1934):
Born in Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy in 1868, Percy Robertson was a talented watercolour painter, illustrator and etcher best known for his atmospheric London street scenes and Thames riverside views. His father, Charles, was a painter and engraver. Percy was educated at Charterhouse School in England where he won the Leech Prize for drawing in 1884. He lived with his family at Meadrow House in the village of Farncombe near Godalming in Surrey. The house still stands today and a blue plaque records that he lived there. He left Charterhouse in 1885 and achieved early success as an artist being elected at the age of nineteen an Associate Member of Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and a Fellow in 1908. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and elsewhere. By 1901 Percy was living in London at 79 Clifton Hill, Marylebone and in 1905 he married Edith Nash at the fashionable St George's, Hanover Square, Mayfair. The couple then moved to Maidenhead in Berkshire but Percy continued to produce London views upon which his main income was based. His work was often illustrated and he took full advantage of developments in chromolithography which enabled his watercolours to be reproduced in colour, particularly as advertising postcards. He died at Richmond, Surrey in 1934 aged 69.
Collections: British Museum; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; National Gallery of Victoria; Godalming Museum and elsewhere.