The Palmer scholar, Raymond Lister, hugely admired these images of the falls and placed them firmly in the tradition of the picturesque school of Richard Wilson, James Ward and William Payne. He further suggested that the paintings of Claude Lorrain were a powerful influence. Throughout his life Palmer admired Claude and indeed wrote of him: ‘the last skill of imitation (of nature) is to know what should be omitted… I remember reading a critic questioning the truth of a peculiar mass of rocks in one of Claude’s pictures. I have seen none like it, but I did not measure Claude’s knowledge by my own ignorance. On my next tour, I came upon the very thing and sketched it.’3
The present work has remained hidden from public view since 1967 and with its masterful combination of light, atmosphere and detailed observation of nature, one can understand why Lister referred to this group of drawings as ‘amongst the finest of his post-Shoreham pictures’.4
1. R. Lister, op. cit., p. 106, nos. 226, 227
2. ibid., pp. 106-7, no. 228
3. idem, Samuel Palmer: His Life and Art, Cambridge 1987, p. 5
4. idem, Samuel Palmer – A Biography, London 1974, p. 94
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