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Edward Lear (1812-1888)



Pencil, pen, ink, watercolour and bodycolour.

Lear sketched this on the spot. The exact date and location are noted on the reverse of the picture. Villefranche is on the coast near Nice.

He was born in Highgate, a suburb of London, the 20th child of his parents and was raised by his eldest sister, Ann, twenty-one years his senior. At the age of fifteen, he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together.

He started work as a serious illustrator and his first publication, at the age of 19, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830.

His paintings were well received and he was favourably compared with Audubon.

Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson's poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published, but his vision for the work was never realised.

Lear briefly gave drawing lessons to Queen Victoria, leading to some awkward incidents when he failed to observe proper court protocol.

Article By: Dave Roberts.

First Published: 2007.



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