Civitella Gazette

BM 1975,0920.13. ©Trustees of the British Museum

Penry Williams, “Civitella Gazette”, view of the Serpentara; a group of artists, including Samuel and Hannah Palmer and Albin Martin, sketching in a landscape. 1839 Pen and brown ink.

“Mr. Lear” is the long-legged one sitting at the foot of the rock

[front]
Civitella Gazette.
price. 2 Bugs. View of the [Serpentara.] July. 1. 1834. presented gratis.
[back]
of Civitella has been made (for the poor) among the residents at [] & a considerable sum has been realized.
July 1. 1839

BM 1975,0920.13. ©Trustees of the British Museum

Curator’s comment:
Penry Williams has captured a group of artists at work in the landscape of Civitella on July 1st in 1839. Samuel Palmer is shown in hat and spectacles on the crest of a rock with his wife Hannah (née Linnell) in her bonnet nearby, and Albin Martin seated below. The Palmers were slowly making their way north and back to England after being in Italy since the end of 1837. (see W. Vaughan, E. Barker and C Harrison, ‘Samuel Palmer’, BM, London, 2005, pp. 179-80)
Olevano and Civitella were favourite spots for artists in the 19th century, frequently staying in one or the other and meetingin the middle with the result that there are numerous paintings, drawings and prints by them showing either Olevano seen from Civitella and the Serpentara or of Civitella seen from Olevano and the Serpentara.

Compare with a self-portrait by a friend of Edward Lear’s, Marianne North, showing the conditions in which she often had to work:

A sketch of botanical artist Marianne North perched in a tree – so as to better view the plants she wished to draw. “How I got up and how I got down is still a mystery to me”, (Marianne writing to Dr Allman, from Seychelles, 1883.) Kew Gardens LAA Team.

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