I was fairly certain that I had explored most aspects of Whitehaven history. However this town of endless surprises had yet one more to spring on me. On his return my plumber friend unwrapped a parcel: it contained a ship's log — not the official one, but one kept by an apprentice on a voyage to the far east in the early nineteenth century — and the minute book of the Whitehaven Literary Society, 1820–1822. Of all the material things written about White‐haven very little has been said about its cultural activities. For the development of an interest in art it should be said by the way that the town owes a debt to William Gilpin of Scaleby Castle, the agent for Sir John Lowther of Whitehaven. Directly through his patronage of Matthias Read, and indirectly through his son and grandsons Gilpin contributed not a little to the promotion of painting in Cumberland and elsewhere.
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