Coal, Art, and the Beaumonts

Early associated with midland Collieries, writes E.M. Howe, the Beaumont family later became generous patrons of art.

Few names are automatically associated with coal, like that of Arkwright with cotton, or Mellon with steel, and that of Beaumont is not one of them.

But the Beaumont family lived on a Leicestershire coal field for five hundred years, and their connexion with coal twice became of more than local significance, once, as with Arkwright and cotton, for technological reasons, and once, as with the Mellons, for art patronage financed by industrial receipts.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, it helped to introduce new mining machinery; at the beginning of the nineteenth, it led to the founding of the National Gallery in London.

In 1426 one of the younger sons of Baron Beaumont of Falkingham Castle, Thomas Beaumont, knight and captain of Chateau Gaillard in France, married a Leicestershire girl and decided to settle permanently on the land she brought him in her home village of Overton Quatermarsh.

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