Thomas Sunderland (1744-1823)
Born near Kirkby Lonsdale into a family with iron mining and smelting interests, Sunderland ran the business with great success until the early 1780s. He then retired to Littlecroft, his large house in Ulverston, the most important town in the Furness peninsula which served as a port for fishing and trading vessels; at this date the town was also the chief destination of those reaching the Lakes by foot or carriage over the sands from Lancaster at low tide. Here Sunderland devoted himself energetically to municipal affairs and his private passions for drawing and collecting. There has been much speculation about the origin of his interest in drawing and his possible teachers. One possibility, now discounted, was J.R. Cozens, another (inherently more likely) was Joseph Farington with whom he long remained in touch; it is, however, very probable that he was self-taught, making use of prints and drawings by other artists. He eventually made numerous copies of such works, often arranging them in albums to simulate the records of actual tours; this activity makes it hard to establish the extent of his own travels, let alone their chronology. He evidently had access to the collections of other art-lovers in the north of England, since there were periods when he rarely left the area. Visiting Farington in 1802 he told him it was twelve years since he was last in London (V.1797).
Living in Ulverston for some forty years, Sunderland had ample opportunities to make sketches of the Lake District and he produced many w
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