Thursday, July 31, 2008


Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) is one of Britain’s finest and most original 19th century artists who created richly colored visionary landscapes inspired by the Romantic artist and poet, William Blake. Palmer had an ecstatic response to nature which he expressed in his art through intense color effects and decisive drawing. He had a profound influence on British art inspiring a number of Neo-Romantic painters and printmakers.

Born in London he was the son of a bookseller and some time Baptist minister. He was raised by a pious nurse and started painting churches at age twelve. He first exhibited Turner-inspired works at the age of fourteen at the Royal Academy. He had little formal training and did nit have any formal schooling.

Samuel was largely forgotten after his death. In 1909, large amounts of his work were destroyed by his surviving son Alfred who burnt "a great quantity of father's handiwork.. knowing that no one would be able to make head or tail of what I burnt."

However this son did not burn everything and in 1909 he brought Harvest Moon to the front counter of Christie's and obtained 5 Gns. for it at auction. Christie's missed a good deal, had they bought the picture in they would have striked gold. In 1972 a member of the family who bought it in 1909 came again to Christie's and put it for sale : it fetched this time 44,000 Gns. ($120,120). Alfred Palmer made the bonfire of the century that almost paled the auto dafé of the Nazis in 1933. The difference is that Alfred Palmer wanted to avoid more humiliation to his father's works.

Palmer painted several Harvest Moon.

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