Edward Lear, Mdina or Citta Vecchia, Malta.
Inscribed, dated and numbered ‘Citta Vecchia./Malta/January 28. 1866./ 11-12 AM./ (34)’ (lower right) and variously inscribed with colour notes. Pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour on buff paper 13 x 20½ in. (33 x 52 cm.)
Lear spent four months from December 1865 – April 1866 in Malta. He had visited the island previously, briefly in 1842, on his way to Greece from Italy and then again en route to Corfu in 1862 and had thoroughly enjoyed the island. This third trip however, was less successful; although the weather was good and he produced many accomplished sketches, most of his previous aquaintances were absent and he was concerned about his sister Ellen’s health.
The ancient city of Mdina or Citta Vecchia was the capital of Malta until 1530. Situated on one of the highest points of the island, it dominates its surroundings.
Edward Lear, Delvinë or Delvino, Albania.
Dated ’3 April 1857/ 6. p.m.’ (lower left), and 3 Ap1. 1857. 6 p.m’ (lower left) and inscribed ‘Deilino’ (lower left) and further inscribed with colour notes. Pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour heightened with bodycolour, on buff-paper.
In 1855 Lear arrived on the island of Corfu, where he based himself on and off for the next three years, although he continued to travel extensively throughout Greece, the Middle East and Albania. In April 1857 he embarked on a three week trip to Albania. In a letter to his sister Ann he wrote ‘On the 1st I go across, with Edwards (Mr Lister Turker’s godson) & George, to Yannin, by Delvino: I can do nothing with that magnificent lake without having seen the mountains with snow on, & so go I must’ (E. Lear, The Corfu Years, Denise Harvey , Greece, 1988, p. 107).
Edward Lear, View on the Nile.
Inscribed and dated ‘Nayadeh 11½ am Jan .. 21. 1854′ (lower left) and numbered ’109′ (lower right) and inscribed ‘Uppermost’ and numbered ’23′ (verso of the sheet). Pencil and watercolour heightened with bodycolour. 2? x 6? in.; and A scene on the Nile.
Shortly after Christmas 1953, Lear set off up the Nile with a party he had met in Cairo, travelling leisurely by boat as far as Aswan and the first cataract. Lear was clearly captivated by the form of the Egyptian boats; in his letter of 4 January 1854 to his sister Ann he wrote ‘the most beautiful feature is the number of boats, which look like giant moths, -& sometimes there is a fleet of 20 or 30 in sight at once’.
Edward Lear, Mahatta, Nubia.
Signed with monogram (lower left) and with inscription ‘No 2/Mahatta. Nubia’ (on the verso). Pencil and watercolour heightened with touches of white. 7? x 15 in. (18.1 x 38.1 cm.)
The present highly finished watercolour, would have been executed following Lear’s third visit to Egypt in 1866-7 and would have been carefully worked up from the rapid on the spot sketches the artist created.
During this trip he ventured further south than previously, travelling through Nubia (now part of Southern Egypt) as far as the second cataract. The landscape of Nubia fascinated Lear, who wrote to Lady Waldegrave, ‘Nubia delighted me, it isn’t a bit like Egypt except that there’s a river in both. Sad, stern, uncompromising landscape, dark ashy purple lines of hills, piles of granite rocks, fringes of palm, and ever and anon astonishing ruins of oldest temples’ (Lady Strachey, ed., Later Letters of Edward Lear, London, 1911, p. 83).
Edward Lear, A view of a market place in a continental town, possibly Trier, Germany.
Signed and dated ‘E. Lear. del 1838.’ (lower right). Watercolour, 6? x 6? in. (12 x 16 cm.); watercolour of a continental village (verso).
The present watercolour was executed while the artist was undertaking his first prolonged overseas trip in the summer of 1837. Apart from two visits to England in 1841 and 1845-6, Lear spent the next decade based in Italy, recording and exploring the continent. The excitement that Lear gained from this early trip and his desire to explore the world was to remain with the artist throughout his life.
Edward Lear, ‘Ceriana’.
Inscribed with title and dated ’13 Oct 1870 2PM’ (lower right), with collectors stamp (lower left) pen & ink drawing, unframed. 17.5 x 25.5cm (6 7/8 x 10 1/16in).
Edward Lear, Venice after sunset.
Inscribed ‘Venice’ (lower left), inscribed again and dated ‘after sunset15 Nov 1865′ (lower right), signed, inscribed an dated again’ (Edward Lear/Venice/1865) on a fragment in the same frame. Pen, ink and watercolour. 8 x 13cm (3 x 5in).