Manuscripts

Compiling a list of Edward Lear manuscripts is not easy, here is a partial one that I’ll try to update regularly.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Frederick R. Koch Collection. GEN MSS 601.
Includes correspondence (Mary Nicholl Wyatt, Laura Campbell, and various others) with pictures, several limerick drawings and proofs, and picture stories, among them the unpublished A Walk on a Windy Day, Romulus and Remus, The Lost Hat.
Yale University Library finding aid.

General Collection Manuscript Miscellany. GEN MSS MISC.
Sketches for the Book of Nonsense, Lear’s own version of “The Nervous Family” song (1, 2), and correspondence, including letters to John Ruskin and one to Mrs. Ker with nine nonsense flowers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
Yale University Library finding aid.

Burney-Lear Drawings. OSB MSS fd 59.
Includes “a group of large unmounted drawings, approximately 45 of which are by Edward Lear.” Images.
Yale University Library finding aid.

Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University

Edward Lear Miscellaneous Correspondence. MS Eng 797.
Oasis finding aid.

Edward Lear Diaries 1858-1888. MS Eng 797.3.
Diary entries by Edward Lear from 1858 until 1887, shortly before his death. The entries frequently discuss his paintings, as well as his health problems and depression. Lear’s primary residence was in England through 1870, when he settled in San Remo, Italy. He also traveled extensively, and usually took at least one long trip each year, often in search of new artistic material. These diaries describe travels in Egypt, England, France, Greece, India, Italy, Lebanon, and Switzerland, among other places.
Oasis finding aid, with links to page scans of each volume.

Indian Journals, 1875-1878. MS Eng 797.4.
2 v. (340, 315 leaves) ; 33 cm. Describes Lear’s tour of India 24 Oct. 1875-29 Jan. 1878.

Depictions of birds, plants, and insects. 1828-1836. MS Typ 55.4.
A scrapbook containing 80 drawings and watercolours by Edward Lear and his sister Ann.
Online facsimile.

Illustrations of Miss Maniac. MS Typ 55.6.
A verse narrative, incomplete, on 43 numbered leaves 12 x 9 cm., mounted 2 to a leaf on the rectos only. All but 9 of the leaves have drawings. Published in

Illustrations to the poems of Tennyson. MS Typ 55.7.
199 drawings. Sepia wash and china white.
Online samples.

Sketches of the psittacidae,1832. MS Typ 55.8.
Nine of the drawings were published in Lear’s Illustrations of the psittacidae; two are unpublished.
Online facsimile.

Edward Lear sketches of parrots relating to Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae, or parrots (1832). MS Typ 55.9.
Collection primarily consists of sketches and drawings of parrots, in ink, graphite, and watercolor, but also includes some lithographs (many hand-colored). Many items include autograph manuscript annotations and notes by Lear and color samples. Also includes a paper wrapper and printed title page. Images used in Lear’s: Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae, or parrots, 1832.
Oasis finding aid, with links to facsimiles.

Edward Lear drawings of animals and birds, ca. 1831-1836. MS Typ 55.12.
An album (61 x 41 cm.) of 60 drawings in ink, graphite, Chinese white, wash, and watercolor on paper. Also includes color samples, autograph manuscript notes by Lear, sketches, and a few lithographs. Album is in a red cloth box.
Oasis finding aid. Online facsimile.

Edward Lear drawings of landscapes, animals, and birds, ca. 1849-1855. MS Typ 55.13.
An album (46 x 61 cm.) of 54 drawings on paper in pen, ink, watercolor, gouche, graphite, and Chinese white. Also includes color samples, autograph manuscript notes by Lear, sketches, and a few lithographs. Album inscribed: “Cecilia Lushington from Mr. Lear, May 25th 1855.” Album bound in marbled boards, vellum spine and corners; in red cloth box.
Oasis Finding Aid. Online facsimile.

Edward Lear miscellaneous drawings, 1849-1866. MS Typ 55.14.
Includes Lear’s nonsense drawings, autograph manuscript drafts of the nonsense poems and nonsense alphabet, drawings with verse, and proofs for The nonsense alphabet and other works. Also includes a few landscape drawings, a portrait of an unidentified man, self-portraits, and a portrait photograph of Lear, among other items.
Oasis finding aid, with links to facsimiles.

The cummerbund: an Indian poem. MS Typ 55.16.
Autograph manuscript in black ink. A note at the end including a glossary is crossed out.

Some incidents in the life of my uncle Arly. MS Typ 55.22.
Autograph fair-copy manuscript of a poem in 7 verses, with original postmarked envelope addressed to Wilkie Collins. Dated “Villa Tennyson, Sanremo, 7 March 1886.”

Edward Lear album of drawings, [ca. 1830]. MS Typ 55.27.
1 volume (62 leaves) : graphite, pen-and-wash, and watercolor on Whatman wove paper ; 25 centimeters + clippings laid in. More than 70 drawings and watercolors, chiefly botanical and natural history subjects, with a few topographical views and figure studies, probably by more than one hand. Also contains 17 small engravings.
Online facsimile.

Letters to the Earl of Northbrook, 1876-1887. MS Typ 781.
7 letters: 1. 1 June 1876 — 2. 19 June 1876 — 3. 12 Nov. 1877 — 4. 29 Nov. 1877 — 5. 19 Aug. 1883 — 6. 27 Apr. 1884 — 7. 12 May 1887. All are from Sanremo except no. 5 which is from Abetone. All the letters are in Lear’s hand and signed. Letters 4 and 5 have illustrations.

Letters to Maria G. M. Grant, 1883-1885. MS Eng 937.
Includes a set of wood engravings by Lear of Corsican views, a photograph of Villa Brigida, and several letters to Maria GM Grant and Violet Grant. The letters concern Lear’s health, his travels in Italy, the deaths of several people close to Lear, and Lear’s inquiries after the Grant family. One letter also includes a sketch by Lear of the birds outside his window.
OASIS finding aid.

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Nonsense Book.
Eight humorous drawings of a friend’s guest-chamber, laid down on the pages of a blue covered book. Description. Published in 1972 as The Long Nite in ye Woderfull Bedde.

Yale Center for British Art

Alphabet, 1857. Folio A 2010 52.
An unpublished alphabet. “Autograph manuscript alphabet, with original drawings, by Edward Lear, 1857. A hand-written label affixed to the verso of leaf ‘Z’ notes: ‘Alphabet, written & illustrated by Edward Lear for Winifred Williams & Barrington Crake.’”
Full record.

3 Responses to Manuscripts

  1. Pingback: More Edward Lear Manuscripts from Houghton | A Blog of Bosh

  2. Peter Byrne says:

    As always, very helpful.

  3. Pingback: Mr Lear Recovers his Hat | A Blog of Bosh

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