The Morning of Life
Primarily a watercolour painter of imagined rural landscapes, Samuel Palmer also created thirteen known etchings that significantly expanded the possibilities of that medium. He first studied with landscape painter John Linnell, and was much influenced by his brief friendship with William Blake. He first took up etching in 1850, and quickly developed a style characterized by a dense network of lines and dramatic lighting effects. The Morning of Life went though significant changes as the artist reworked his plate through seven states. It began as an entirely different subject - Hercules and Cacus - with the mythological hero being transformed into a woman gathering apples, and figures of boys and men preparing sheep for washing added to create an idyllic scene of agrarian enterprise.