Samuel Palmer – Letter No2

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Autographed (unpublished) letter to George Richmond R.A. Provenance: By descent in the Richmond family.


Furze Hill, Mead Vale, Red Hill May 28/1880
My dear Friend,
I should have flown to see my dear Cousin ere it was too late, but am not allowed even to go outside the doors of my house into the garden, much less to travel:- an infirmity which is bitter indeed on such an occasion as this. Neither can Herbert come, for he is in bed with a sharp attack of measles and his mother is of course unable to leave him. This is so shocking and sudden that I hardly know what I write – the one comfort is my Cousins unwavering faith in the gospel, in an age when so many are forsaking their own mercies. when this —? is gone I shall perhaps remember things which I should have liked to have said. I could have wished to have sent dear John my last love in this world, and for him to know that I should ere this, have been by his bed-side had my own health rendered it possible – but it would be worse than —? to draw his attention to it now. I wish that one word from me of deepest sympathy and love could be conveyed to his ear. Believe me my dear friend in all this confusion of sorrows.
Yours ever affectionately,
Samuel Palmer.
George Richmond Esq R.A.
P.S. I wrote a telegram but found it was too late for our office so that it would not have arrived before this

Additional information

Letter (folded)

18 cm x 11.4 cm.


Palmer, Samuel (1805-1881)

Palmer became an artist at an early age, at 14 he had exhibited at the British Institution, sold a landscape and had three works hung in the Royal Academy. At 17 he met the artist John Linnell, later to become his father in-law, who guided and mentored him and introduced him to William Blake, who influenced his work throughout his life. Palmer became the leader of a group of young artists called the 'Ancients', his good friend George Richmond was also a member. During the 1820s Palmer went to live in the Kent village of Shoreham, which he called ‘Valley of Vision’ and it was here, living together with fellow Ancients, that he produced some of his most celebrated romantic landscapes combining visionary imagery with a highly detailed study of nature. It was when he left Shoreham that he went on his travels to Wales and the Wye Valley and after marrying Hannah Linnell, to Italy. Palmer’s spirituality, his relationship and attitudes to rural life shaped his work. His personal life was marred with tragedy and turmoil. He had 3 children with his wife, daughter of John Linnell, only one of which survived. Palmer was distraught after the death of his eldest son at 19, and never fully recovered, blaming himself for pushing his son too much. Palmer’s relationship with Linnell became strained due to their differences over religion and politics and resentment over his continued financial support. Palmer received little critical attention during his lifetime but posthumously has been more widely recognised. His work featured in ‘Watercolour’, an exhibition at Tate Britain (Feb-Aug 2011).