George Cumberland: Farming – Family – Fossils by K. Jane Evans

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George Cumberland: Farming – Family – Fossils
Aspects of a Somerset life in letters 1800- 35

by K. Jane Evans

George Cumberland (1754-1848), friend of William Blake, was a man of letters and an artist. Yet few will know of his brief foray into farming. In 1800 he bought Axbridge Hill and endeavoured to farm Ryeland sheep, improving their wool by crossing with merinos. He moved his large family of eight children and ‘Mrs C’ several times until settling for a few years at Weston-super-Mare in May 1802.
Weston was then a small village of a hundred people. It was this that led the author in 1979 to start exploring his vast archive of letters in the British Library, revealing snippets of information about early Weston and its eccentric acting curate, the Revd Wadham Pigott as well as Cumberland’s life in Bristol.
The book in softcover A4 format comprises 150 pages, with over 330 citations from volumes held in the British Library. There is a comprehensive index and 67 illustrations in colour and black and white, with 23 of Cumberland’s own work.