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Samuel Palmer

1805 – 1881

The Sleeping Shepherd; Early Morning by Samuel Palmer

The Sleeping Shepherd; Early Morning   1857

  Original etching.
Signed in the plate.
Ref: Lister 6 iv/iv
S 148 x 132 mm; P 124 x 103 mm; I 95 x 78 mm
Original Samuel Palmer etching.

The most sought-after of all of Samuel Palmer’s etched works, The Sleeping Shepherd has become an iconic image of the English pastoral tradition.

Very good impression of the completed image, as published in Etchings for the Art Union of London by the Etching Club in 1857 and with the plate number (5). The plate for this etching is known to have been destroyed by 1882.

The Sleeping Shepherd is the most truly romantic of all of Samuel Palmer’s etched works. In this tranquil scene the figure of the shepherd is protrayed with Blake-like elegance as he rests, surrounded by the fecundity of nature. This is truly an enchanted vision, showing man in total harmony with nature. Here the artist has captured the idyllic English pastoral landscape in an image which remains an outstanding masterpiece of British etching.

A version of this subject by Samuel Palmer, painted in tempera, appeared recently at Christie’s in New York (27 January, 2010) estimated at between $2,500,000 and $3,500,000.

On pale cream India paper applied to original warm white wove backing sheet, with margins of about 1 cm beyond platemark on all sides. Generally very good condition, image surface excellent.