Calling all art enthusiasts and nature lovers! Get ready to embark on a captivating journey through the enchanting landscapes of Samuel Palmer, as the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme, in collaboration with partners, funders, and collaborators, proudly present an extraordinary exhibition and events programme highlighting the works of this revered artist.

“Samuel Palmer: Visionary Landscapes” offers a fresh and imaginative exploration of the extraordinary talent of Victorian artist Samuel Palmer. Known for his breath taking depictions of romantic rural landscapes, Palmer’s artistic vision was profoundly shaped by his decade-long sojourn in Shoreham, Kent, where he drew inspiration from the captivating beauty of the Darent Valley. This exhibition uniquely pairs Palmer’s classic works with creative responses from contemporary artists residing in or near the area offering a dynamic dialogue between past and present.

Opening its doors at The Sir Peter Blake Gallery in Dartford, Kent, on Saturday March 16th for a two-month residency, the exhibition breaks away from the traditional format. Alongside the exhibition, a free program of events offers immersive experiences beyond the canvas. From insightful talks and guided tours to interactive workshops and virtual reality experiences, there is something for everyone. Explore the Darent Valley with artist-led walking and drawing tours, delve into Palmer’s world with expert-led discussions, and unleash your creativity at workshops led by local artists. Join us for a journey of inspiration and discovery!

As part of our commitment to accessibility, the artworks will be available for virtual viewing online after the touring exhibition ends.

Selina Levinson Drake, National Landscape Arts and Communication Manager said: “Samuel Palmer: Visionary Landscapes is an exhibition with a difference. Carefully curated to engage a wide and diverse audience, it invites visitors to discover the beauty of Palmer’s art, local talent, and the enchanting landscape of the Darent Valley.”

In addition to the exhibition and events, visitors are encouraged to download the free Darent Valley Trails app, offering an immersive audio visual tour of the Samuel Palmer Trail. Delve into Palmer’s world as you explore the landscape he knew so well, complete with insightful commentary on his life and artistic influences.

Supported by esteemed institutions such as the V&A, Tate Images, and Ashmolean Museum, with guidance from world-renowned Palmer expert Colin Harrison, the exhibition promises an immersive and enriching experience for all. Celebrate the enduring legacy of Samuel Palmer and the timeless beauty of the Darent Valley landscape.

Event highlights include:

Saturday 13th April – Family Day: Pop-Up Mini-Etching Studio with Nicole Mollett. Etch and print your own visionary landscapes inspired by our Samuel Palmer exhibition. Learn how to use accessible, safe, and engaging etching methods, printing your own masterpiece using a small printing press!

Friday 26th April – Walk, Talk and Draw: Victoria Threlfall. Explore Lullingstone Country Park’s amazing veteran trees with artist Victoria Threlfall. Learn how visionary artist Samuel Palmer depicted these ancient trees. Have fun using alternative drawing activities, creating rubbings and mark-making.

Saturday 27th April – Curators Talk: Samuel Palmer: Visionary Landscapes with Curator Colin Harrison. Join Senior Curator of European Art at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and renowned expert on Samuel Palmer, Colin Harrison for a fascinating talk about Palmer and his time spent in the Darent Valley, where he produced some of his most important work. Find out about the artists who have been inspired by Palmer and the landscape.

Saturday 11th May – Sound Workshop: The Sound of the Darent Valley with Paul Cheese. Join sound artist and musician Paul Cheese to experiment with sounds captured during The Big Record: Darent Valley project. Bring your own sound recordings on your phone or device and create your own unique sounds through using electric drums, keyboards, and sample pads as you embark on a journey of sonic discovery! Hear Paul’s unique movement of music, composed entirely from found sound, inspired by Samuel Palmer’s paintings, and capturing the sounds and audio inspiration of communities, individuals, industry, artistic works, landscapes, and nature, across the Darent Valley.

Enjoyed at any time – Explore free self-led Palmer-inspired walking trails available on the Darent Valley Trails app, including Veterans and Lavendar, Palmer and Villages and Ridges and Valleys.

Darent Valley Trails App:

All events can be found here – some require booking, but all are free:

Peter Blake | Dartford Living