This work is a study for A Pastoral Scene 1835, a painting in oil and tempera, now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. A shepherd and shepherdess tend their flock of sheep in the foreground, while harvesters gather ripe corn in the fields and a crescent moon rises in the distance. The image suggests fertility and pastoral contentment, unaffected by the outside world.
Like Blake, Palmer particularly admired the poetry of Virgil and Milton. Palmer was drawn to Milton’s evocations of nature, especially the effects of the moon, in which both he and Blake saw a spiritual message.