In the Chequered Shade

In the Chequered Shade



Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
In the Chequered Shade

Signed lower right: S. PALMER/1861
Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour and gum arabic
20.2 by 43.2 cm., 8 by 17 in.

With Walker's Galleries, 11 New Bond St, London, 1952;
Acquired by a private collector;
By descent until 2010

Raymond Lister, Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of Samuel Palmer, 1988, p.189, no.586 as untraced

London, Society of Painters in Water-colours, 1861, no.133;
London, Walker's Galleries,
48th Annual Exhibition of Early English Water-Colours, 30th June 1952, no.85, as `Noon - Resting Time'

The title of this watercolour is taken from Milton's "L'Allegro', line 96. John Milton ( ) was a constant influence on Palmer throughout his life and his work is filled with references to images found in Milton's poetry. He first encountered Milton's work when his nurse Mary Ward gave him a copy of his poetry in 1829. It was not until 1863 however that Palmer produced a series of illustrations to Milton's poetry at the instigation of the solicitor Leonard Valpy who commissioned them. These illustrations occupied him for the rest of his life and he wrote to Valpy about them a few months before his death in February 1881. They were published posthumously by his son A.H. Palmer.

Palmer depicts a woman carrying an urn of watercolour on her head to the right with a hunting party chasing a stag with attendant dogs `in the chequered shade' to the left. The high viewpoint looking down on an Italianate landscape and the combination of light and shade is typical of Palmer's work of the period.

We are grateful to Colin Harrison for his help in cataloguing this watercolour