Samuel Palmer


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.

Samuel Palmer
British; 1805–1881
Oak Tree and Beech, Lullingstone Park, ca. 1828
Pen and brown ink, graphite, watercolor, opaque watercolor, and gum glaze on gray paper