Art Term

The Ancients

The Ancients were a group of artists who formed around the visionary artist and poet William Blake in the last years before his death in 1827

Samuel Palmer, ‘Coming from Evening Church’ 1830
Samuel Palmer
Coming from Evening Church 1830
Tate
Edward Calvert, ‘The Chamber Idyll’ 1831
Edward Calvert
The Chamber Idyll 1831
Tate
George Richmond, ‘Christ and the Woman of Samaria’ 1828
George Richmond
Christ and the Woman of Samaria 1828
Tate

The Ancients was the name the group gave to themselves. The implication of the name was that as the Industrial Revolution burgeoned they were looking back to a better age.

Their leader was Samuel Palmer and the other chief figures were Edward Calvert and George Richmond. For a few years between 1826 and 1834 they gathered in the idyllic Kent village of Shoreham where Palmer owned a house. Their work expressed a mystical vision of nature, in Palmer’s case deeply Christian, in Calvert’s tinged with pagan delight in the erotic.

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