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The Art of JAMA
November 24, 2015

The Harvest MoonSamuel Palmer

JAMA. 2015;314(20):2114-2115. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12105

It was in the poetical glens and woodlands of the Shoreham countryside miles away from the din of London where beginning around 1826, English artist Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) found inspiration for many of his most memorable works. Although it may not have been of commercial advantage to be located some distance from prospective buyers, the rusticity of the region had its compensations, not least of which was the spectacle of moonlight splashing across the tranquil terrain with an other-worldly effect. Palmer’s works of the time featured expressive brushstroke flourishes, exemplified in pictures that included the mossy timbers in his Oak Trees, Lullingstone Park (http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artwork.php?mkey=1841). Although he regarded the virtues of life in the country with an appreciation perhaps akin to that of noted landscape painter John Constable, he was on a different mission. As has been commented: “For Constable nature comes first; for Palmer the spiritual.” (Vaughan W. Samuel Palmer: Shadows on the Wall. New Haven, CT/London, UK: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/Yale University Press; 2015:ix-412.)

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