Ye Sign of Ye Dolphin
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

dolphin_sign_00SeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #318

The Wentworth Hotel, built in 1874, has no real connection to the wealthy NH royal governors for which it is named. The 1760 Benning Wentworth mansion is visible, however, from the hotel windows facing Little Harbor. (Text and photos below)

The name was suggested by New Castle historian and poet Rev. John Albee simply because it sounded aristocratic. In his history of New Castle Albee made an after-the-fact connection to a 17th century tavern or "ordinary" on Great Island (now New Castle). The tavern owned by Samuel Wentworth was known as The Dolphin. Albee’s book includes an imagined sign for the tavern showing a cherub riding a dolphin. The horrific image of the dolphin as a sea monster was a common icon dating back to ancient times. This illustration is similar to a painting of a boy on a dolphin by Peter Paul Reubens from about 1638. During the early 20th century, designers "re-branded" the hotel and someone had a copy of Albee’s book. Wentworth by the Sea revived the dolphin imagery. The art nouveau version showed a naked female figure that harkens back to a Greek sculpture of Nike riding a dolphin. This image was more befitting to the "Roaring Twenties" when, despite the "dry era" of Prohibition, the hotel was known as an exclusive oasis where the rich and famous could still get liquor. (SeacoastNH.com Collection)

Imagined sign of the Dolphin Inn in New Castle, NH / SeacoastNH.com

More on history of
Wentworth by the Sea
CLICK HERE

Dolphin loal from art nouveau era of Wentworth Hotel/ SeacoastNH.com