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SAMUEL PALMER R.W.S. (1805 – 1881)

“The Herdsman’s Cottage”

Original Etching

Lister Plate III. State ii

Signed with initials etched in the lower margin

Published 1880.  Etched surface 3 13/16” x 3”                                                                                                       IMAGE

 

Hammerton wrote of this etching in his  book on Etchers & Etchings in 1880:

“In its own way it is like some pearl or diamond without flaw, but pearls & diamonds are

 very common things upon the earth in comparison with etchings of this quality”

 

 

Samuel Palmer was born in 1805 at Newington.  He was the son of a bookseller and was one of the most original landscape painters of the British School.  He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1819. The most important early influences on his life were Stothard, Varley, Linnell, Mulready and, above all, Blake, whom he met in 1824.  In that year he and his father were living in Shoreham, Kent, the inspiration for his most perfect primitive and visionary work.  For a time he formed one of the "Ancients" who gathered there around Blake.   In 1837 he married Linnell's daughter Hannah and they went to Italy, returning in 1839.  Thereafter he attempted to make a living by teaching and exhibiting, and made sketching tours throughout Britain, particularly in Devon, Cornwall and North Wales.  He attempted to simplify his work, taking de Wint as a model, and worked up many of the careful drawings made in Italy. He was elected Associate of the Old Watercolour Society in 1845, rising to full Membership eleven years later.  In 1861 his life and style underwent another change following the death of his eldest son, More, and something of the early inspiration returned, showing itself particularly in his etchings. It has long been the fashion to decry Palmer's post-Italian work and to claim that his individual vision was destroyed by Linnell.  This is hardly true.  Linnell had a bad influence on his personal life, but generally a good one on his work.  The Shoreham period with its hot and even garish colours, its great balloons of blossom and sense of the summer of youth, could not last beyond youth. Palmer, like Blake, was a lover of gold, and often tried to work it into his sunsets.  He also felt that a landscape was nothing without figures, and generally introduced them if only in a subordinate role.  Like Turner, he was concerned with light, like Cotman with essential form.  It is in the refining of the diverse influences upon him that his originality lies. Examples of work by Samuel Palmer are in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Aberdeen Art Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, Williamson Art Gallery Birkenhead; Birmingham City Art Gallery, Blackburn Art Gallery, Cartwright Hall Bradford, City Art Gallery Manchester, the New Gallery Scotland and Ulster Museum.

 

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