Gathering Seaweed: by Grant Miles Simon, American (1887 to 1967). *Photo courtesy of Masterworks
Gathering Seaweed: by Grant Miles Simon, American (1887 to 1967). *Photo courtesy of Masterworks

Although the majority of artists who visited Bermuda found inspiration in the flora and fauna of the island and thus left a legacy of magnificent landscapes and seascapes, others were fascinated by the everyday life of Bermudians. 

Philadelphian Grant Simon c aptured a common agricultural activity in Gathering Seaweed, Shelly Bay. 

Long before stores offered “organic” fertilizers or toxic chemicals were the order of the day, local farmers collected seaweed in wooden carts to spread over the crops. 

Sargasso is the best known of the pelagic seaweed (living and growing in the sea, independent of land). 

It is unusually rich in nutrients. 

Bermuda is in the middle of the Sargasso Sea. The sargassum is a brownish red plant that floats one to two feet thick on over 7,000 square miles in the Atlantic and drift to shore at certain times of the  year. 

The farmers would bring their carts to the beaches and harvest the seaweed with big rakes  and then dispersed on their crops.

Simon is thought to have come to Bermuda only once in 1939, and was well known in the Philadelphia area as an architect, painter, lithographer and lecturer.

 He had studied at the University of Pennsylvania as well as the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. 

Elise Outerbrdge is curator for Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Arts.