Sunday, February 18, 2007

Samuel Palmer, groups, the papers

One of a series of posters of British art treasures issued by the Independent newspaper is a reproduction of Early Morning painted by Samuel Palmer in 1825. He lived in Shoreham in Kent, not far from Sevenoaks, and the picture shows a path through a wood near the village. The picture is almost entirely composed of glowing browns and sepias with clinging black shades. Leaves, grasses and other plants are picked out in minute detail. An oak tree with a heavy, solid trunk spreads its branches like an umbrella. A rabbit lopes in the foreground, a small group of people in the centre of the picture, labourers perhaps, appear at the edge of the corn field. The more you look at it, the more you see, and the more you see, the more you wonder.

Grand daughter Giselle explains the various groups in her London school. She is, she says, an indie (independent) as distinct from a chav, an emo, a goth or a bimbo, each of which she defines with the precision of a sociologist.

One of the things I most enjoy in my daily routine is having the newspapers, mostly full of bad news and irrational opinion, behind me, so that I can indulge myself in the sudoku.

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