Samuel Palmer

Download image: 
Samuel Palmer
Oak Tree and Beech, Lullingstone Park
ca. 1828
Pen and brown ink, graphite, watercolor, opaque watercolor, and selective gum glazing on gray paper.
11 5/8 x 18 1/2 inches (296 x 470 mm)
Thaw Collection.

Signed in graphite at lower left, "S Palmer fect [t superscript]--". Inscribed on verso in pen and black ink at lower right, "Shorehame".

John Linnell; by descent to his grandson Herbert Linnell; Mrs. E.A.C. Druce; Mrs. Hilda Pryor; private collection, England; sale, London, Christie's 8 June 2000, lot III, repr. In color pp. 108, 110 (detail), and on front cover (detail); Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 280, repr.
The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and Oil Sketches : Acquisitions since 1994. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 2002, no. 31.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 65, p. 138-139.


Watermark: none.
After meeting William Blake, who became a friend and mentor, in 1824, Palmer developed a form of Romantic landscape combining naturalist observation with a visionary style. This drawing depicts a view in Lullingstone Park, near the village of Shoreham in Kent. The artist focused on the giant oak in the foreground, suggesting the texture of its bark with a brilliant skein of dots, circles, and tiny scribbles. He conveyed light through an innovative application of yellow watercolor over white opaque watercolor, to which he applied gum arabic, imparting shine, and occasional dots of red watercolor.
This remarkable depiction of an ancient oak on an estate in Kent resulted from a commission from Palmer's mentor, the artist John Linnell. Palmer approached the oak in distinctly anthropomorphic terms. His spirited pen work captured what he described in a letter as the tree's "muscular belly and shoulders; the twisted sinews"--from the dense textures of bark and knots to the exuberant curves of the branches. Dots of opaque watercolor, so thick they project from the sheet, lend an unearthly glow. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

Associated names: 

Linnell, John, 1792-1882, former owner.
Linnell, Herbert, former owner.
Druce, E. A. C., Mrs., former owner.
Pryor, Hilda, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.

Artist page: