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Samuel Palmer Rustic Artist

May 8, 2011

Samuel Palmer (1805-81) makes me think or warm summer meadows, lazy days and the rustic rich

life in the countryside. His work has been in my mind a little after all the walking I’ve been lucky to do

whilst the sun has been so glorious. I decided to find out a little more about him.

He was one of Britain’s greatest artists. He painted familiar scenes using trees, villages, the night sky

as his subjects also using rich forms and vivid colours. It’s still surprising to see that his work looks

so bold and modern even though they were painted nearly two centuries ago.

He became an artist at a young age and was strongly influenced throughout his career by the work of

his friend and mentor William Blake. Palmer’s early work was partly shaped by his interest in the

primitive’ artists of the fifteenth and sixteenth century. For a time, he lived in the Kent village of

Shoreham, whose surrounding countryside became his ‘Valley of Vision’.

After this he married and spent time in Italy.

Following his return to London he worked in watercolour and took up etching. Sadly in his later years,

Palmer suffered a series of personal hardships – including the death of his favourite son and ended

his life living as a recluse.

I think the above etchings are some of his favourite work of mine. The way he skilfully plays with both

light and nature, whilst portraying such form and depth in his layered landscapes makes me sigh in a

happy, but kind of envious way lol. I’ve enlarged the one below called ‘Early Morning’ painted in 1825,

to show his wonderful command and understanding of his line, medium and subject matter.

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