Sunday, 24 July 2016

Samuel Palmer’s etching, “The Early Ploughman”


Samuel Palmer (1805–81)
“The Early Ploughman”, or, “The Morning Spread Upon the Mountains”, 1858–60, from the first published state, as issued by Hamerton in “Etching & Etchers,” 1868.
Etching on cream wove paper, printed within the platemark (or trimmed) for publication in “Etching & Etchers”.
Size: (sheet) 16.8 x 25 cm; (image) 13.1 19.8 cm
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Ploughman drives his team of four oxen towards the fields as the sun rises. 1858/60 Etching (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1417049&partId=1&searchText=palmer+Early+Ploughman&page=1) Lister 1988 E.9.v/ix (Lister, Raymond, “Catalogue raisonné of the works of Samuel Palmer”, Cambridge, 1988); Alexander 9 iv/viii
Condition: crisp impression with red edges to the sheet as published in “Etching & Etchers”, 1968. There are a few light spots on the upper margin (recto) and a few pale touches of foxing visible verso; otherwise the sheet is in very good condition.

I am selling this extremely rare, original Samuel Palmer etching for the total cost of AU$698 (currently US$520.99/EUR475.06/GBP397.58 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing a print by one of Britain’s most famous artists, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


An interesting feature of this deeply romantic image—and a feature that my eyes keep returning to—is the portrayed standing woman with a pitcher resting on her head. From what I understand about this curious figure is that her pose is likely to have its origin in William Blake, Edward Calvert and Palmer’s fascination with antique carved gems and coins. Blake, for instance, is known to have copied poses for his figures from Roman bas-reliefs and this particular pose may be found in his watercolour, “Jacob’s Ladder”. Similarly, Calvert’s interest in such a classic pose may be seen in his wood engraving, “The Brook.” Regarding Palmer's interest in antique carvings, he had a plaster cast collection of them and offered one of his students, Miss Wilkinson, the following advice in a letter dated 29 May 1862:

“Mr Newman made me eight or ten of his cedar colour-boxes without partitions, and a little deeper than usual, in which I possess a fine sculpture-gallery, having filled them with casts from the finest antique gems. These are most useful for reference, when working out lines caught from nature. …I would advise you to collect casts from the best antique gems whenever you can get them” (Cf Hardie, Martin, 1928, “Samuel Palmer”, London, p. 13).





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