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Samuel Palmer

1805 – 1881

The Weary Ploughman by Samuel Palmer

The Weary Ploughman   1858

  Original etching.
Ref: Lister E8 viii/viii
S 239 x 292 mm; P 190 x 262 mm; I 132 x 201 mm
Original Samuel Palmer etching.

Excellent, rich black impression of the completed image. As issued by the Etching Club in 1865.

Originally known as The Herdsman; or Tardus Bubulcus, this etching was begun by Samuel Palmer in May 1858. It took him six weeks to complete, and it shows some of his finest etching technique.

In The Weary Ploughman Palmer has woven his image from an intricate lattice of etched lines through which he has captured the magical quality of the last rays of the evening sun illuminating an ideal pastoral scene. It was these fleeting nuances of light which fascinated Samuel Palmer, making etching his favourite branch of art. Samuel Palmer’s etchings were not the result of rapid and direct sketching from nature but were the result of long and painstaking effort and experiment. To him the charm of etching was in “the glimmering through of the white paper even in the shadows so that almost everything either sparkles or suggests sparkle”. To achieve this effect and the luminosity which he so loved, Samuel Palmer has used a dense web of finely etched lines, through which the white of the paper is allowed to sparkle in a thousand tiny dots, to create an infinite tonal range. Raymond Lister regarded this plate as marking the beginning of Samuel Palmer’s finest etched work – certainly, it shows a quality of workmanship which he rarely surpassed, and in design anticipates the composition of his etching of The Bellman, over twenty years later.

On pale cream chine collé applied to original warm white wove backing sheet, as issued. Very fine condition.