Samuel Palmer

A Dream in the Apennine

exhibited 1864

Not on display

Samuel Palmer 1805–1881
Watercolour and gouache on paper on wood
Support: 660 × 1016 mm
frame: 940 × 1295 × 75 mm
Bequeathed by Mrs Hilda Fothergill Medlicott 1950

Display caption

This picture shows a view of Rome from the South-East. It was exhibited in 1864 with this note: 'Suddenly, at a turn in the mountain road, we looked for the first time on that Plain; the dispenser of law, the refuge of philosophy, the cradle of faith. Ground which Virgil trod and Claude invested with supernatural beauty was sketched - but with a trembling pencil.' It is one of Palmer's largest watercolours, and is very densely painted in a mixture of watercolour and bodycolour (watercolour mixed with opaque white). Such heavily-worked up landscapes were characteristic of Palmer's later years. His reference to the Roman poet Virgil recalls the great impact which Blake's illustrations to Thornton's 'Pastorals of Virgil' had on him.

Gallery label, September 2004

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