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Palmer painted this while living in Shoreham in Kent (1826–33). He regarded Shoreham as an ideal landscape, a rural paradise touched by a divine presence. Palmer was inspired by William Blake’s illustrations (1821) to Ambrose Philips’s imitation of Virgil’s First Eclogue and could have been describing his own work when he wrote of the Blake engravings: ‘They are visions of little dells, and nooks, and corners of Paradise; models of the exquisitist pitch of intense poetry . . . There is in all such a mystic and dreamy glimmer as penetrates and kindles the inmost soul’.

February 2016