Online Encyclopedia

SAMUEL PALMER (1805-1881)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 645 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAMUEL PALMER (1805-1881), English landscape painter and etcher, was born in London on the 27th of January 1805. He was delicate as a child, but in 1819 he exhibited both at the Royal Academy and the British Institution; and shortly after-wards he became intimate with John Linnell, who introduced him to Varley, Mulready, and, above all, to William Blake, whose strange and mystic genius had the most powerful effect on Palmer's art. An illness led to a residence of seven years at Shoreham in Kent, and the characteristics of the scenery of the district are constantly recurrent in his works. Among the more important productions of this time are the " Bright Cloud " and the "Skylark," paintings in oil, which was Palmer's usual medium in earlier life. In 1839 he married a daughter of Linnell. Thewedding tour was to Italy, where he spent over two years in study. Returning to London, he was in 1843 elected an associate and in 1854 a full member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, a method to which he afterwards adhered in his painted work. His productions are distinguished by an excellent command over the forms of landscape, and by mastery of rich, glowing and potent colouring. Among the best and most important paintings executed by Palmer during his later years was a noble series of illustrations to Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. In 1853 the artist was elected a member of the English Etching Club. Considering his reputation and success in this department of art, his plates are few in number. Their virtues are not those of a rapid and vivid sketch; they aim rather at truth and completeness of tonality, and embody many of the characteristics of other modes of engraving—of mezzotint, of line, and of woodcut. Readily accessible and sufficiently representative plates maybe studied in the "Early Ploughman," in Etching and Etchers (1st ed.), and the "Herdsman's Cottage," in the third edition of the same work. In 1861 Palmer removed to Reigate, where he died on the 24th of May 1881. One of his latest efforts was the production of a series of etchings to illustrate his English metrical version of Virgil's Eclogues, which was published in 1883, illustrated with reproductions of the artist's water-colours and with etchings, of which most were completed by his son, A. H. Palmer.
End of Article: SAMUEL PALMER (1805-1881)
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