Manchester Art Gallery

The Bright Cloud

Object description

A warm pastoral landscape scene depicting a procession of figures and animals on a lush, wooded hillside. Working their way through trees in the left foreground and moving downhill to the right, the group is led by a woman on a donkey: she rides side-saddle and has a red head covering. Behind her walks a blond man in a white robe who carries a staff. A woman in a blue robe who carries a round basket on her head is next, then a man in red and finally a woman in brown, with a basket on her head. She is half-turning as one of the herd of cattle behind them noses at her garment. Below the pastoral procession, to the right, is a dark, wooded valley beyond which is a sloping ridge; a bright, cloud-filled sky tinted with pink dominates the upper half of the composition. Frame: Gilt moulded frame with several decorative bands, the outermost of which projects forwards. It is similar to the frame of Linnell's "Hampstead Heath" (1917.151).

Display label

The Bright Cloud about 1833-34 (removed from display) Samuel Palmer 1805-1881 Oil and tempera on panel Palmer settled at Shoreham, Kent in 1827. He referred to the area as his 'valley of vision' and remained there until 1835. This is one of several cloud subjects from that period. The landscapes Palmer painted around Shoreham are loaded with religious and poetic imagery. The artist read the Bible and the work of John Milton from a very young age. Lines from Milton's Paradise Lost are reflected here: ...yon western cloud, that draws O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, And slow descends, with something heavenly fraught. Purchased with the assistance of the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund and the National Art Collections Fund 1976.82