english landscape poetic
PALMER, SAMUEL (1805-1881), landscape painter and etcher, was born in London on the 27th January 1805. He was delicate as a child, and received his education, in which a study of the classics--English as well as Greek and Latin - played a notable part, at home under the wise and genial care of his father. In 1819 we find him exhibiting both at the Royal Academy and the British Institution ; and shortly afterwards he became intimate with John Linnell, who gave hint excellent counsel and assistance, advising drawing from the figure and from the antique in the British Museum, and introducing him to Varley, Mulready, and, above all, to William Blake, whose strange and mystic genius had the most powerful effect. in impressing on Palmer's art its solemn and poetic character. Before very long the studies of this period were interrupted by an illness which led to a residence of seven years at Shoreham in Kent. Here the artist sought a closer acquaintance with nature, 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, but one with which be is now hardly at all associated in the popular mind. In 1839 he married a daughter of Linnell's. The wedding tour was to Italy, where he spent over two years in study. Returning to London, he was in 1843 elected an associate and in 185.1 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. Ile delighted in the more exceptional and striking moments of nature, and especially- in her splendours of sunrise and sunset. His paintings are less literal transcripts than poetic and imaginative renderings. They are admirably composed and well-considered pastorals, which find a singularly accurate literary parallel in the landscape work of Milton in his minor poems ; indeed among the best and most important paintings executed by Palmer during his later years was a noble series of illustrations to L'Alleyro and Il Pen•erogo, now in the possession of Mr L. R. Valpy.
In 1853 the artist was elected a member of the English Etching Club ; and his work with the needle is no less individual and poetic than his work with the brush. Mr Hamerton has pronounced him "one of the few really great English etchers," " one of the most accomplished etchers who ever lived." Considering his reputation and success in this department of art, his plates are few in number. They are executed with care and elaboration. Their virtues are not those of a rapid and vivid sketch, depending on force and selection of line, and adopting a frankly interpretative treatment ; 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 may be 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 spent an honoured and productive old age, till his death 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 left unfinished at his .fleath, and completed by his son, A. H. Palmer. A collection of Palmer'sn works was brought together by the Fine Arts Society in the year of his death. The descriptive and critical catalogue of this exhibition, and the memoir by his son, may be consulted for particulars of the painter's life and art.