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Creator:
Samuel Palmer, 1805–1881, British, active in Italy (1837–39)
Title:

Underriver Hills, near Sevenoaks, Kent, from the Grounds of J. Herries, Esq.

Date:
ca. 1840
Medium:
Watercolor, gouache, pen and black ink, and graphite on thick, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 9 5/8 x 14 1/16 inches (24.4 x 35.7 cm), Frame: 23 1/2 x 17 1/4 x 1in. (59.7 x 43.8 x 2.5cm), and Sheet: 9 5/8 × 14 1/8 inches (24.4 × 35.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.4646
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
grounds | hills | landscape
Associated Places:
England | Europe | Kent | Sevenoaks | United Kingdom
Access:
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
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Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:14273
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After his marriage in 1837 Palmer felt new pressure to make a living from his art. He relied on teaching for income while tempering his visionary approach to landscape in order to make exhibition watercolors that would find buyers. In August 1840 he made a trip to Kent, the locus of his earlier mystical landscape works. At Underriver he sketched this view, dutifully recording the rolling countryside with greater fidelity to nature.

Gallery label for Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-06-09 - 2008-08-17)
In 1837 Palmer married [John] Linnell's daughter, the painter Hannah, and the pair honeymooned in Rome until the end of 1839. Once home, the couple moved to London, but the pressure was now on for Palmer to make a living from his art. When John Linnell became his father-in-law rather than a mere friend, their relationship changed, becoming more strained as the elder artist lectured his new son on his financial responsibilities." From 1839 Palmer was relying on teaching for income, while attempting to make exhibition watercolors that would find buyers. Money was short. In his notebook for 1840, he wondered "supposing lessons stop, and nothing more is earned.... Go into the country for one month to make little drawings for sale? In August 1840 the Palmers and the Linnells made a joint trip back to Shoreham, just a few miles from Underriver. At Underriver, Palmer sketched this view of the Kent landscape from grounds belonging to the prominent Tory politician John Herries (1778-1855) in the neighboring hamlet of St. Julian's. Herries's property lay on the edge of the great park of Knole, a location that conformed to Palmer's ideal vision of Kent in its traditional guise of "Garden of England." But making saleable watercolors meant tempering his visionary enthusiasm and submitting to Linnell's discipline of greater fidelity to nature. Here his approach to watercolor sketching conforms to A. H. Palmer's account of his father's time-saving methods, noting his use of "warm middle-tint paper and body-colour [gouache], a practice he eschewed in most of his finished drawings." Around 1840 Palmer gradually abandoned oil painting to focus exclusively on watercolor; the reward was election to the Society of Painters in Water-Colours as an Associate in 1843 and a regular venue for exhibiting his work. Commercial success remained hard to come by, explaining his envy for the enormous popularity of paintings in watercolor by William Henry Hunt (cat. nos. 66-68).

Matthew Hargraves

Hargraves, Matthew, and Scott Wilcox. Great British Watercolors: from the Paul Mellon collection. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2008, p. 180, no. 79

Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-06-09 - 2008-08-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (The State Hermitage Museum, 2007-10-23 - 2008-01-13) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007-07-11 - 2007-09-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Christopher White, English landscape, 1630-1850, drawings, prints & books from the Paul Mellon Collection , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, p. 124, no. 224, pl. CLXXVIII, NC228 W45 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Great British watercolors : from the Paul Mellon Collection, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007, pp. 180-81, no. 79, ND1928 .Y35 2007 (LC)+ Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]


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