Palmer, Samuel (1805-1881), 'On Outline, and, Indirectly, on the Picturesque', Pencil,

'On Outline, and, Indirectly, on the Picturesque', Pencil,

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One of two examples of instructions set out by Palmer for pupils. It illustrates how much trouble he took to ensure that the basic essentials of design were fully understood. They underline remarks made by him in a letter to his pupil Julia Richmond, daughter of George Richmond:

'All who draw from Nature must be exact: Talent is shown by rapid exactness. Genius is sometimes developed through slow exactness at first - that whether fast or slow it is Exact and is called Genius when it most exactly embodies sublime conceptions. All educational acquisitions which have not exactness are in my opinion worse than useless, - so much injury is done to the mental structure by the bad habits acquired in the obtaining of these so called acquirements.'


One of his pupils, Louisa Twining (1829-1911), a member of the well known family of tea and coffee merchants, recalled Palmer's teaching in her autobiography, 'Recollections of Life and Work (1893):

'In 1856, my last and most delightful drawing instruction was given by Samuel Palmer, in water-colour landscapes, the want of which i had felt in taking sketches on our various foreign journeys, hitherto only done in pencil. It was not only a rich treat to watch him painting the beautiful pictures which were developed out of his imagination from day to day, and formed the lesson (afterwards possessed by me), but also to listen to his original and striking conversation, combined with the profoundest rules and directions concerning art.'

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, possesses a series of notes by Miss Twinning made in 1856 during these lessons.

Provenance : C.D Snell; Sotheby's, 1976; Raymond and Pamela Lister; Stanley J Seeger.

Exhibited: 'Palmer and The Ancients', Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Size: 19.7 x 29.8 cm

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