Edward Lear, The Valley of Jehosaphat with Jerusalem beyond.
Signed with monogram (lower right). Watercolour and bodycolour. 9.5 x 19.5cm (3 3/4 x 7 11/16in).
Edward Lear travelled to Jerusalem from Corfu and arrived on 27 March 1858. His diary records his travels outside the walls of the city, ‘We crossed the Kidron and went up the Mount of Olives – every step bringing fresh beauty to the city uprising behind’ (Vivien Noakes, Edward Lear 1812-1888, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1985, p.149).
Lear went on to camp for a week on the Mount of Olives making studies and preparatory drawings of the view of Jerusalem in April/May 1858 for a commission from Lady Waldegrave. He worked these up into many successful compositions such as View of Jerusalem, 1858 (Tate Britain). The present lot shows a view of the Valley of Jehosaphat, with Jerusalem on the left with Temple Mount just visible and Absolom’s Pillar in the central middle distance. Lear was particularly interested in the light at dawn and evening, the simple colour scheme of gold, green and purple working to excellent effect. He wrote, ‘just at sunrise the view of the city is most lovely…all gold and white beyond the dark fig and olive trees’. (Vivien Noakes, The Painter Edward Lear, David & Charles, London, 1991, p.72).