Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case EE, Shelf 11, Box A

The Willow

1850 (etched)
Place of origin

A willow tree (filling almost the entire composition) growing out over a stream, above wading cattle and a swan.

Object details

Object type
TitleThe Willow (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Etching print on paper
Brief description
'The Willow'. A willow tree growing out across a stream. Etching print (first state) by Samuel Palmer, England, 1850.
Physical description
A willow tree (filling almost the entire composition) growing out over a stream, above wading cattle and a swan.
  • Plate height: 11.9cm
  • Plate width: 8.1cm
Taken from the dimensions given in the Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue of the Prints, Drawings, Paintings & Photographs Collections and converted from inches to centimetres.
Production typeProof
Marks and inscriptions
'S. Palmer' (Signed.)
Credit line
Given by Colonel Walter O. Horsley, V.D.
Object history
An early state, with some white lines in the sky which were filled in before the plate was issued in 'The Life and Letters of Samuel Palmer' by A. H. Palmer, 1892.

In the first state, there is a white streak across the sky, running from the edge of the plate to the tree, 2 mm. above the cumulus cloud on the left. This is filled up in the later state. In the later state also, there are a few more lines of shading in the upper part of the sky to the right. This state is probably of extreme rarity. This proof was presented to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1912, together with minute-books, records and a collection of prints of the old Etching Club, by Colonel W. C. Horsley, son of J. C. Horsley, R.A., the last surviving member of the Club.

This is the etching which was submitted by Samuel Palmer on his admission to the Etching Club, 1850.

A. H. Palmer explained that:
'It should be noted that the tree in this etching was practically copied from a careful water-colour study made from nature, and of a much larger size. Such a proceeding was very rare in any of Palmer’s work. In this case, it may have been due, partly to a feeling of timidity in a new process, or, partly to a prudent wish not to endanger his election by anything too characteristic or ambitious.' [See Catalogue of an Exhibition of Drawings, Etchings & Woodcuts by Samuel Palmer and other Disciples of William Blake October 20 - December 31, 1926. London : Published under the authority of the Board of Education, 1926. Publication No. 178 E.I.D.]
Attribution note: First State
Subjects depicted
Associated objects
Bibliographic references
  • Catalogue of an exhibition of drawings, etchings & woodcuts by Samuel Palmer and other disciples of William Blake. London, Pub. under the authority of the Board of Education, 1926 no.158
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, Accessions 1912, London, Printed for His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1913
Accession number

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Record createdJune 30, 2009
Record URL
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