Samuel Palmer: Visionary Landscapes Exhibition

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8th January 2024

A new, touring, immersive art exhibition featuring Virtual Reality (VR) is set to open in the Darent Valley this January. It’s not your usual exhibition with only artwork hung on walls to look at – you can also join in with free walks, talks, workshops and experience a virtual reality film, transporting you to the Kent landscape from the comfort of the gallery. 

Samuel Palmer: Visionary Landscapes is a collection of art created by artists living locally, invited to interpret original works by the Victorian artist. Samuel Palmer lived for a time in Shoreham 200 years ago, where he painted the Darent Valley landscape. Much of which remains very similar to what he saw. (Yes, the M25 has since cut through in the distance, but was built low, buried from view, giving today’s admirers a similar view to his).

The Exhibition

The Samuel Palmer exhibition will open at The Kaleidoscope Gallery in Sevenoaks, Kent, on 12th January for a two-month stay, before moving to the Sir Peter Blake Gallery in Dartford in mid-March.

A free programme of events will run alongside the 4-month exhibition, offering you the chance to not only see the modern interpretations of his work, but to also step into the Darent Valley using VR headsets.  Watch a film that follows the course of the river Darent from dusk to dawn and from source to sea. Listen to the audio guide that reveals what happens when no-one is watching – from insects, to wildlife, to the trees; the sights, sounds and wonder of nature that you just might miss on a walk, especially if you’re not crawling around on the floor where some of the piece is filmed from! A piece of music has also been composed from the sounds of the Darent Valley by Paul Cheese’s Big Record Project.

During the exhibition, you can also create your own art inspired by Palmer at workshops run by the artists themselves, listen to experts’ talks and join walking/drawing tours led by Palmer art historians.

The exhibition has had input from the V&A, Tate Images and Ashmolean Museum – all of which hold Samuel Palmer pieces in their collections.  Their collection curators have helped select which artworks to include in the exhibition. World-renowned Palmer expert Colin Harrison, curator at the Ashmolean and author, has advised and guided on the exhibition and events.

Kent Downs National Landscape is proud to be supporting the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme in hosting this Samuel Palmer extravaganza, celebrating this special connection between famed artist and our local landscape.

Dates and Locations

12th January – 12th March

15th March – 16th May

Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks Sir Peter Blake Gallery, Dartford

Exhibition events

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