Samuel Palmer : Visionary Landscapes

Lovers resting under a tree, 2023.

The exhibition launch event at Kaleidoscope Gallery Sevenoaks on the 12th of January was a very busy event. The curator Sarah Newman gave a introductory talk, as did Nick Johannsen from Kent Downs National Landscape who helped fund the project.

Just as John Constable is closely associated with the landscape of the Stour Valley, so the name of Samuel Palmer is indelibly linked to the Darent Valley, and in particular the village of Shoreham. For a period of ten years, from about 1824 onwards, he found inspiration in this remarkably un-spoilt corner of the English countryside, where he made his most intensely visionary work. In the intervening years, the valley has obviously changed; but it is still recognisably Palmer’s. To preserve it and to share it with a wider public was the main impetus for the Darent Landscape Partnership Scheme, with which I have been involved from the outset. Making the Samuel Palmer Trail, it was heartening to rediscover the sites he knew, from the great trees in Lullingstone Park to the surviving barns in the fields round Shoreham. It was also enormously encouraging that so many contemporary artists responded to the call to produce work in the Darent Valley which showed, however loosely, affinities with Palmer. They have responded magnificently to the challenge of looking afresh at the landscapes immortalised almost 200 years ago by Samuel Palmer.

Colin Harrison, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

For more info about the project go to