Edward Lear, best known for nonsense verse and limericks, was also a topographical landscape painter, musician, travel writer, ornithological and natural history draughtsman and an illustrator. Largely self-taught as a painter, he began by drawing animals at Knowsley Hall menagerie; later moving to landscape painting. He lived in Italy from 1837 to 1848, returning briefly when Queen Victoria requested twelve drawing lessons. He later studied at the Royal Academy Schools (1850-51). In 1852 he was introduced to William Holman Hunt, whose paintings became a great influence. From the early 1860s, Lear’s reputation as a landscape painter declined, perhaps partly a result of the mass-produced watercolours he made, which he called ‘Tyrants’.
bottom left: Edward Lear del. / 1840 ; bottom right: Roma from San Giovanni Laterano.
Sold through Christie's, London, 'Important English Drawings and Watercolours' sale, on 4 July 1967 (Lot 81), as 'A View of Rome from San Giovanni Laterano', for 80 guineas; from which sale purchased by author and Rossetti scholar Virginia Surtees (c.1917-2013); by whom bequeathed to the Government Art Collection
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