Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Samuel Palmer watercolor of cypress trees

The Cypresses at the Villa d'Este, Tivoli, Samuel Palmer, watercolor
The Cypresses at the Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Samuel Palmer

Original is in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, which has both a zoomable and downloadable file on their site. You can also find a zoomable version on the Google Art Project and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

You can see — particularly in the lower trunks — how he started with a pencil sketch, added watercolor to that and then highlighted the brighter tips of the foliage with gouache.

To me, the drawing seems particularly direct and contemplative. I can identify with the artist focusing on his subject, the rest of the world and its cares far far away.

The Cypresses at the Villa d’Este, Yale Center for British Art


3 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Samuel Palmer watercolor of cypress trees”

  1. On blue wove paper in 1838. Amazing!

    For 500 years European paper makers could only produce what came to be called Laid paper. In 1757 John Baskerville printed his famous edition of Virgil on a new kind of paper, called Wove (known in Europe as Vélin). This paper is now known to have been made by the elder James Whatman. Twenty-five years later (1780’s) the manufacture of wove paper spread quickly to other paper mills in England, and was also being developed in France and America. All this took place over a decade before a machine to replace making paper by hand was conceived. With the establishment of the papermachine (1807), the manufacture of paper on a wove wire base never looked back. Today more than 99% of the world’s paper is made in this way.