This painting, attributed to T. Ramsey, depicts one of the earliest representations of bathing machines in the world. Scarborough is often referred to as 'the first seaside resort' and this painting provides some justification for this claim.
The spa waters in Scarborough were discovered in c1627 but later, when the benefits of sea bathing became popular, Scarborough had the advantage over the in-land spa resorts and became a popular destination for its waters, its air, its situation and its cures.
The painting shows The Red House on St Nicholas Cliff, one of the earliest purpose built boarding houses in the town, still there today. Also depicted are the various trappings of sea bathing such as bathing costumes being rinsed and laid out to dry and the bathing assistants (in the dark blue dresses) who assisted ladies to change in the huts. If you look very closely you can even make out the names of the bathing hut proprietors: Laycock, Field and Hunter.
This painting is actually only one half of what would have been a larger painting showing the castle headland to the right, but at some time, possibly due to damage, the painting was cut down to the version we see today.