Samuel Palmer 1858 Comet painting stolen

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    Posted by James Lancashire at 12:58 on 2014 Jan 28

    Saw this mentioned in Kensington paper on the Tube and have found what looks like the full image in this BBC article.Apart from the sad loss to the private owner, a bit of searching suggests it may be Donati’s Comet on its 1858 appearance (perihelion was 1858 Sep 30). The comet was discovered earlier in the summer and it was the first comet to be photographed!There is some mention of the artist in ‘Fire in the Sky: Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science’ by Roberta J. M. Olson, Jay M. Pasachoff.In fact the painting is mentioned in note 23 on pp 243/244. The google books link is too long for forum so I’ve included it in full:’s hope the 31cm by 70cm painting is recovered soon.


    Posted by Richard Miles at 18:12 on 2014 Jan 28

    That’s a great shame – I hadn’t seen that painting before (maybe we never now will see it!). It is Donati’s Comet as you can see Arcturus near the head of the comet.There was a Donati’s Comet painting from the Paul Mellon collection by William Turner of Oxford on loan at the Royal Academy, next door to Burlington House a few years ago. It was an almost exact representation of the stars in Bootes and in that case Arcturus was comingled with the head of the comet. You could easily see the star on the original but it was a lot less obvious on any copy of the painting. (see Slide 17 at:

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