Driving Sheep, Surrey
John Linnell made his reputation and his fortune as a fashionable portraitist, but his real passion was always landscape painting. His wealth earned from portraiture enabled him to patronize William Blake, and some of his early landscapes are touched with the visionary quality of Blake, and of the artist Samuel Palmer, who married Linnell’s daughter in 1837.
In 1846 Linnell virtually gave up portraiture, and after settling at Redhill in 1851 most of his large output was devoted to idyllic scenes of the Surrey countryside, done in a lush and more conventional pastoral idiom than his early work. Deeply religious, his work includes Biblical as well as English landscapes. Throughout his life, his work was much in demand and he became very prosperous.