Charles was born into a large and successful family with a history of achievement. On the Darwin side, his father Robert and grandfather Erasmus were well-respected physicians. On his mother's side, the Wedgwood family had built a respectable estate on the basis of Josiah Wedgwood's successful pottery business. Erasmus Darwin, Charles's grandfather, was a physician, poet and biologist. He studied medicine at the University of Cambridge, took additional courses at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and then set up a successful medical practice in Lichfield. Later in life, after his first wife died and he remarried and moved to Derby, he turned away from medicine and towards science and poetry. He was most renowned for his long poem on life, Zoonomia (1794, 1796), and for his poetry on botany (e.g. The Loves of the Plants ), which, though now mostly forgotten, was quite popular in its time.
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