Edward Lear, The Plain of Damascus
Inscribed with colour notes and further inscribed ’21. night’ (on the reverse). Pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour on paper
13¾ x 18 1/8 in. (35 x 46.1 cm.).
Edward Lear travelled in Palestine, then Lebanon and Syria for three months in the spring of 1858. The sculptor Thomas Woolner (1825-1892) considered his Holy Land drawings ‘the most beautiful things he has ever done not only for the mystery and history attached to the places themselves but also for the excessive fineness, tenderness and beauty of the art displayed in them’ (letter of 22 October 1858, quoted in V. Noakes, Edward Lear 1812-1888, 1985, p. 112). Towards the end of May 1858 he was at Damascus, executing drawings for a panoramic oil that was painted in England in 1860-61.