Samuel Palmer
The Gleaning Field c.1833

Artwork details

Samuel Palmer 1805–1881
The Gleaning Field
Date c.1833
Medium Tempera on mahogany
Dimensions Support: 305 x 454 mm
frame: 439 x 592 x 62 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Mrs Louisa Mary Garrett 1936
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1810

Display caption

Blake’s words in Jerusalem are those of a prophet who will not rest until liberty and peace are ‘built’ in ‘England’s green & pleasant Land’. In terms of ancient mythology this might be compared with the second, or silver, age of man when he had to toil to live.

This picture shows a scene after harvesting has finished. Sheaves (an attribute of the silver age) are in the foreground. In the background are the sheep of ‘England’s pleasant pastures’. Palmer, a devout Christian, was the artist who most successfully wrought images of ‘England’s green & pleasant Land’ out of a harsher reality.

December 2004

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