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Edward Lear: Artist, Explorer and Poet

A small display of four watercolours

28 April - 30 September 2012

Free admission

Antilebanon and Mount Hermon, painted about 1858 by Edward Lear (1812-1888). Pen, ink, watercolour and gouache on paper. WAG 8162. Cattaro, Yugoslavia, painted in 1866 by Edward Lear (1812-1888). Watercolour and gouache, pen and ink on paper. WAG 8151. Mentone, Pont St. Louis, painted in 1864 by Edward Lear (1812-1888). Watercolour and gouache, pen and ink on paper. WAG 8149. Quarries of Syracuse, painted in 1847 by Edward Lear (1812-1888). Ink and watercolour on paper. WAG 982. Edward Lear, drawn in 1857 by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). Crayon and chalk on paper. WAG 1251.


'Edward Lear: Artist, Explorer and Poet' reveals five of Lear’s most stunning watercolours from his years spent travelling from 1837 to his death in 1888. This display marks the bicentenary of Lear's birth..

Edward Lear had a vast and varied career as an artist spanning six decades. Today he is best remembered for his nonsense poetry and caricatures, which demonstrate his offbeat humour and personality.

When Lear was 25 he moved to Italy. He spent the rest of his life based in Europe but travelled worldwide to remote and beautiful places. He created numerous sketches and works of the places he visited that many of his patrons and friends in England would never see.

To share his experiences with others Lear documented and intricately described nearly every day of the 50 years he spent travelling. He stated that he wanted to 'topographise the journeyings’ of his life, recording his movements in sketches, diary entries, letters and journals, some of which he later published.

Lear annotated his sketches with notes and descriptions, giving the works a highly personal quality. He deliberately misspelt words and played with repetition and senseless phrases, creating his own unique language.

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