'Birds-eye view' of Whitehaven

Contributed by Beacon Museum

Birds Eye View of Whitehaven in Cumbria. Copyright The Beacon Museum

This painting shows the grid iron pattern of streets imposed by Sir John LowtherProbably the most famous view of Whitehaven this work gives an amazingly accurate record of the rapidly expanding town. Particularly, it clearly shows the grid iron pattern of streets imposed by Sir John Lowther. Lowther, who made his money from the coal trade, wanted to improve the living conditions of his workers and built this grid system of streets and housing. This painting was commissioned by Lowther and shows clearly the designed Georgian town.

Matthias Read came to Whitehaven in the late 17th century, married a local girl and lived there for the remainder of his life. Read produced many paintings during his time in Whitehaven not just on canvas, but on panels, above fireplaces and even for ships' figureheads. Not many examples of his work remain today.

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