Edward Lear sketched this view on two pages of a sketchbook. The work is inscribed by the artist.
Lear visited Jerusalem in 1858. Shortly afterwards he painted four oil-on-canvas views of the city, three of which were for Lady Waldegrave and the other for Lord Clermont. In 1865, he was commissioned by Samuel Price Edwards to paint a larger view of Jerusalem (now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).
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’.
Sold through Sotheby's, London, 'Eighteenth Century and Modern Drawings and Paintings' sale, on 27 July 1960 (Lot 37), as 'An Extensive View of Jerusalem, showing the town within the city walls'; from which sale purchased by Agnew's Gallery, London, on behalf of the Ministry of Works
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