Henry Singleton

Palemon and Lavinia

c.1792

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 371 x 321 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Mrs M. Bernard 1974
Reference
T01926

Display caption

This painting illustrates a story from James Thomson’s popular poems The Seasons 1726–30.

The rural lovers Palemon and Lavinia appear in Thomson’s Autumn; they are adapted from the Biblical story of Ruth and Boaz. Palemon, a gentleman, professes his love for the country girl Lavinia, in a harvest-time setting. Thomson’s sentimental fantasy of rural romance was particularly attractive to a generation brought up on the ideals of Sensibility.  

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T01926 PALEMON AND LAVINIA c.1795

Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 14 5/8×12 5/8 (37.1×32.2)
Presented by Mrs Montague Bernard 1974
Coll: ...; Christie's, 20 November 1964 (138), bought Maas

The scene, representing the wealthy landowner Palemon overwhelmed by the beauty of Lavinia as she is gleaning his fields in order to support her impoverished mother, is taken from ‘Autumn’ in James Thomson's The Seasons, which was first published in 1730.

This oil was engraved by John Corner (active late 18th century) for J. Chapman's edition of 1795, which was illustrated with designs by Singleton and Thomas Stothard R.A. (1755–1834). The painting was at one time attributed to William Hamilton R.A. (1751–1801), who illustrated three other editions of The Seasons between 1775 and 1802.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978