Samuel Palmer – Letter No4

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Autographed (unpublished) letter to George Richmond R.A. Provenance: By descent in the Richmond family.


Furze Hill, Red Hill June 01/1880
My dearest Friend,
Amidst all this sorrow, I can pick out some little comfort in hearing that dear Mrs. Richmond was well enough to assist in choosing a last resting place for the mortal part of our dear friend who will now live near Francis Finch – could there be a better neighbourhood? And I will infer that dear Inglis is better from not having heard that he is worse. What you say is most true as to this recurrence of wanted —? of meeting reopening the wound. Time does indeed, though very slowly, assuage the first agony, yet so slowly, that to this time if the dreadful night occurs to me on which my first born was stricken, I can not restrain a cry of horror. A thousand years would not efface the memory of that night. But our dear John was not so untimely smitton, he left us in the ripe years, but before he had much felt the inroads of “slow consuming ages” I – happier for him though sadder for us. He had already passed into the promised land when, on Sunday evening’s lesson, my Eife was reading of Israel’s passage over the channel of Jordan under the conduct of a lesser Joshua than ours. And all this to be relinquished, and our senators are busy in contriving a new parlimentary vestibule for the triumphal entry of a man who has probably done his utmost to deprive thousands of poor people, who most need it, of all hope and consolation in bereavement and death. Our dear friend has been “taken away from the evil to come”, – our young friends have it full before them. God grant them this sad dispensation may recommend to their sympathies the death of the righteous, and his life to their imitation, and that they may scout the bare notion that he has been annihilated like an insect beneath a garden roller. Most warmly thanking you for the unwearied kindness of your letters, and with our united love to all in York Street, including dear W. Richmond whom I suppose to be there.
I remain ever affectionately yours,
S. Palmer
George Richmond Esq, R.A.

Additional information

Letter (folded)

17.5 cm x 11.3 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).