Aswan

Edward Lear, 1854

WAG 983

About this object

Lear, better known today as a nonsense poet, was a professional artist who was specialised in painting views of remote and unusual places. This type of sketch was never intended to be exhibited. It was done on the spot to be used as a reference in the studio later for a painting or finished watercolour. This sketch was made on a trip along the Nile. It is inscribed 'Asswan, 8. Feby 1854 6 P.M.' The precision of time and place is complemented by the exact descriptions of colour scribbled into relevant parts of the scene.

Lear had studied with the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt (1827 - 1910). He had taught Lear the importance of precisely transcribing the light and colour of a particular time and place while he was sketching.

Lear made a second watercolour on the same day as this one. It is inscribed "Mahatta, 8. Feb 1854, 10-11 A.M" (sold at Bonhams on 6 December 2012, Lot 106). Mahatta is within easy travelling distance of Aswan.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Edward Lear (British: English, born:12 May 1812, died:29 January 1888)
  • Date
    1854
  • Materials
    Pencil; Sepia Ink; Watercolour; Paper
  • Measurements
    image: 33.6 cm x 50.5 cm
  • Physical description
    A view of Aswan showing a river meandering across the landscape in yellow and purple tones. Annotated extensively by the artist.
  • Related people
    Art Exhibitions Bureau (Previous owner); Edward Lear (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 983
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1943
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Art Exhibitions Bureau

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1943
    Disposal method: Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1943

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: 8 Feby 1854 6PM
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower left
  • Inscription text: Asswan
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower left
  • Inscription text: W.A.G. 13 / Case 3
    Inscription method: Blue Chalk
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Backing
  • Inscription text: City of Manchester A.G. 11113
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Backing
  • Inscription text: : B 83486 (bowlet label)
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Backing
Object view = Fine Art
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