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Ceylon Scenery

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: Sri Lanka
    City: Colombo
    Place: British High Commission

    Interpretation about this artwork is under review

    The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.

    Edward Lear set off for India in November 1873 on the invitation of Lord Northbrook, then Viceroy of India. Although aged 60, his enthusiasm for long-distance travel was unabated. Lear arrived in Ceylon the following November. He spent two months there until, overcome with fatigue, he departed for home.

  • About the artist
    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’.
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  • Details
    Title
    Ceylon Scenery
    Date
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Acquisition
    Purchased from John Teed, September 1952
    Inscription
    br: monogram
    Provenance
    Purchased from John Teed, Bradford-on-Avon, 1952
    GAC number
    1866