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

The Harvest Moon

Former Title(s):

Harvest Moon

ca. 1833
Oil on paper, laid on panel
Support (PTG): 8 3/4 x 10 7/8 inches (22.2 x 27.6 cm)

Signed, lower left: "S. PALMER"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
agriculture | astronomy | bales | costume | field | gathering | genre subject | gold (color) | grain | harvest | laborers | landscape | light | night | science | stars | women | workers
Not on view

Alfred Herbert Palmer, the artist’s son and biographer, who owned “The Harvest Moon”, described it as a typical example “full of Shoreham sentiment” and “not without some of the accompanying peculiarities.” He went on to comment, “There is nothing out of place in the laden wagon with its team of oxen, or in the harvest labourers, for their dress proclaims them labourers of long ago” (Palmer, 1892, pp. 46–47). Christiana Payne has countered the suggestion that the subject may be anachronistic or may be intended to evoke an earlier time, by noting that oxen continued to be used in parts of Britain throughout the nineteenth century and that the smocks worn by the harvesters were standard dress in the period. Although the depiction of harvesting by moonlight seems characteristic of Palmer in the Shoreham period and undoubtedly contributes to the visionary intensity of the scene, Payne also indicates that workers continuing into the night to bring in the harvest had a basis in actual agricultural practice. What does seem fanciful is the crowding of the workers, men and women together, with no open space to set the sheaves—artistic license to emphasize the bounty of the harvest (Payne, 1993, p. 102).

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. ii & 296, no. 114, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Christie's sale catalogue : Catalogue of Modern Pictures and Water Colour Drawings : 20 March 1909, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, March 20, 1909, p. 14, Lot 84, Fiche B51, Fiche# 1348 (YCBA)

Christie's Sale Catalogue : Highly Important English Pictures c.1600 - c. 1850 : 23 June 1972, Christie's, 1972, p. 28, lot 65, pl. 65, Sales Catalogues (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 176-177, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Frank Davis, Talking about Sale-Rooms : Samuel Palmer's Poetic Vision, , Country Life, vol. 152, October 26, 1972, pp. 1052-53, fig. 3, S3 C68 + (YCBA)

Lindsay Duguid, The Recollected Works, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, Issue no. 5458, November 8, 2007, p. 17, Available Online : TLS Archive Also Available on microfilm : Film S748 (SML)

David Ebony, Samuel Palmer's Luminous Garden, Art in America, vol. 94, no. 9, October 2006, pp. 148-49, N1 A43 (LC)+ Oversize (HAAS) Some volumes are also available Online (ORBIS)

Exhibition Catalogue. 1833. 65th., Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, no. 65, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1833, p. 8, no. 64, N5054 A53 v. 4 (YCBA)

Geoffrey Grigson, Samuel Palmer, Studio, vol. 128, December 1944, pp. 170-75, J10 +St94 (LSF) Other Campus locations including YCBA hold the journal but lack this volume; only copy appears to be in LSF

Geoffrey Grigson, Samuel Palmer, the visionary years. , K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & co., ltd., London, 1947, pp. 93, 110, 186, no. 129, NJ18 P19 G75 (YCBA)

Harvest Moon (art reproduction), Apollo, London, England, {front} p. 19, N1 +A54 M57 Oversize (YCBA)

Simon Jenkins, Skip the Secular Rituals of the Turner Prize for a Real Radical, The british Museum's Exhibition of the Painter Samuel Palmer is an Exhilarating Vision of Archaic Beauty , Guardian (Manchester, England), October 31, 2005, See below, Film AN M312 (SML) Also Available Online (Factiva)

Raymond Lister, A catalogue raisonne of the works of Samuel Palmer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK; New York, NY, 1988, p. 91, no. 168, NJ18 P19 A12 L57 (YCBA)

Raymond Lister, The paintings of Samuel Palmer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] New York, 1985, no. 25, ND497.P3

Morton D. Paley, The Art of The Ancients, Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 1, Winter, 1989, pp 106, 145, fig. 30, Z783 S25 H45 Also Available Online (JSTOR); Plates and Figures are at the end of the issue

Alfred Herbert Palmer, The life and letters of Samuel Palmer, painter and etcher, Seeley, London, 1892, pp. 46-47, NJ18 P19 P35 (YCBA) Also have 1972 reprint edition: NJ18 P19 P35 1972 (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Christiana Payne, ' A mild, a grateful, an unearthly lustre ', Samuel Palmer and the Moon , Burlington Magazine, vol. 154, no. 1310, May 2012, pp. 334, 335, fig. 32, N1 B87 + OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Christiana Payne, Toil and plenty, images of the agricultural landscape in England, 1780-1890 , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1993, pp.16, 55, 102-3, no. 20, pl. 13, ND1354.4 P39 1993 (YCBA)

Samuel Palmer, Temple Bar, vol. 97, no. 386, January, 1893, p. 85, A88 T24 (SML) Also available Online(Britidsh Periodicals database)

Samuel Palmer, Tate Publishing, London, p. 47, fig. 39, NJ18.P19 W55 2005 (YCBA)

Simon Schama, The Yale Centre for British Art, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, Issue no. 3923, May 20, 1977, p. 620, Film S748 (SML) Also avaiable online in TLS Historical Archive (ORBIS)

William Vaughan, Samuel Palmer : shadows on the wall, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2015, p. 204, fig. 174, NJ18.P19 V37 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

William Vaughan, Samuel Palmer, 1805-1881 : vision and landscape, , British Museum Press, London, 2005, p. 154, no. 81, pl. 81, Nj18 P19 V38 2005 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 46, N590.2 A82 (YCBA)

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 46, 715 Y18 977b (YCBA)

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