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George Cumberland, fossil collecting and landscape painting in early 19th c...

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Cambridge University Library

Milstein Seminar Rooms

West Road

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB3 9DR

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Speaker: Dr Jenny Gaschke, Curator of Fine Art pre-1900, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

The watercolours of George Cumberland (1754-1848), a life-long friend of William Blake and early member of the so-called Bristol School, merge a passion for fossils and geology with radical landscape.

This talk will relate Cumberland’s work to the vibrant intellectual and cultural climate of early nineteenth century Bristol. It will seek to trace the reciprocal influence science and art had on each other in the activities of the newly founded Bristol Institution and through the artistic practice of professional and amateur landscape painters in the city between 1820 and 1840. Significantly, George Cumberland published both art-theoretical and palaeontological tracts as well as collecting both art and geological specimens.

The drawings and watercolours in the collection of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery suggest he was using images of landscape, in this case the striking scenery around Bristol, to align scientific observation with ideas about Creation.

Other talks in this series:

Thursday 25 January - The Wonders of the Peak: Eighteenth Century Geo-Tourism in Derbyshire

Tuesday 20 February - The Role of Women in the History of Geology

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Cambridge University Library

Milstein Seminar Rooms

West Road

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB3 9DR

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