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Group of English Romantic artists inspired by William Blake and active for about a decade in the late 1820s and early 1830s. Their name (evidently first used in May 1827, shortly before Blake's death) expressed their admiration for the more spiritual art of the past in preference to that of their own day. At most there were about nine members, of whom the best known was Samuel Palmer; others included Edward Calvert and George Richmond, with John Linnell on the fringes. They sometimes worked at Shoreham in Kent, where Palmer had a house from 1826 to 1835, and they also held meetings in London (at Blake's house in the early days). Usually they worked on a small scale, concentrating on biblical and pastoral subjects in an idyllic or visionary vein. The Ancients attracted little attention at the time and were virtually forgotten for almost a century until they were rediscovered in the 1920s, as part of the revival of interest in Blake. Subsequently their work was influential on Neo-Romanticism.

Subjects: Art.

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