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You are hereHarvey-LeeHomeHarvey-LeeWeb ExhibitionsHarvey-LeeSamuel Palmer Intro Harvey-LeeThe Sleeping Shepherd

Samuel Palmer  
(Newington, south London 1805 – 1881 Redhill, near Reigate, Surrey)

The Sleeping Shepherd; Early Morning

The Sleeping Shepherd | Samuel Palmer | Etching | Elizabeth Harvey-Lee

The Sleeping Shepherd; Early Morning

Alexander 6 iii/iv, Lister 6 iii/iv   
123 x 103 mm (bevelled plate); 95 x 78 mm (image); 243 x 185 mm (sheet)

Etching, c1854-57. Proof in the penultimate state, the image finalised, the plate reduced in width, but before Palmer’s name beneath the image and the number 5. On laid india paper. A little time-toned. A tiny uninked printing defect at the top right.


The Sleeping Shepherd; Early Morning

Alexander 6 iv/iv, Lister 6 iv/iv   
123 x 103 mm (bevelled plate); 95 x 78 mm (image); 232 x 190 mm (sheet)

An impression in the published state (not illustrated), with Palmer’s name and the plate number 5, as issued in Etchings for the Art Union of London by the Etching Club, 1857; edition of 500; only issue. Trimmed in the margins of the wove support sheet, slight foxing in the margins and rubbed in the margin at the right plate edge.


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Additional Information about the Print

For the pose and dress of the figure of the sleeping shepherd, both here in the etching (in reverse) and in the closely related watercolour c1854 (now in the Fitzwilliam), Palmer reprised a late Shoreham painting of The Sleeping Shepherd from c1834-5 (itself preceded by three different drawings on this archetypal pastoral theme in pencil - in a sketchbook, 1824, in sepia 1825 and finally black ink the 1830’s).

In the inking of this proof the deeply bitten birds stand out against the paler distant wooded hillside and enhance the feel of spatial recession.

Though unassociated directly with any particular lines of poetry, it is an intensely poetic image, redolent of much pastoral verse.