Media File
Samuel Palmer
Date: English draftsman and painter, 1805–1881
Biography: Samuel Palmer, English romantic landscape artist, was born at Newington (London), the son of a bookseller. He studied drawing with the minor landscape painter William Wate, and in 1819 – at the age of fourteen – had works accepted at both the Royal Academy and the British Institution. In 1822, he met John Linnell, who was to become a major force in Palmer's artistic education (and his future father-in-law).

Linnell encouraged him to study the old masters – especially Durer, Lucas van Leyden, and the seventeenth-century Dutch landscapists – and most important, introduced him to William Blake, whose visionary art was to have a profound effect on the young Palmer. In 1826 or 1827, Palmer moved to the village of Shoreham in Kent, which he called "Valley of Vision." Here, in near isolation, he produced some of his most celebrated romantic landscapes in watercolor and sepia - combining visionary imagery with the kind of close, highly detailed study of nature which Linnell continued to emphasize.

In 1832, tired of the restrictive world of Shoreham and disillusioned with rural life, Palmer bought a house in London, and in 1835-36, travelled through North Wales. In 1837, he married Linnell's daughter, Hannah, and the couple went on a honeymoon in Italy which lasted two years. Upon his return to England, Palmer became a member of the Old Water-Colour Society, and was also active as an etcher. Near the end of his life, he made extensive series of watercolor illustrations to Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, which engaged him until his death in 1881.