Edward Lear Visits Beachy Head with His Sister Sarah

An Edward Lear picture story in 10 panels (nos. 5, 7 and 8 missing) relating an excursion with Lear’s sister Sarah Street.

The pictures have been copied (or traced) from Lear’s presumably lost originals and bound with the typescript of the letters to his other sister Ann. The pictures are on three pages, but were almost certainly drawn each on a different sheet; that the missing pages are marked between pictures.

Probably made before 1853, when Sarah first left for New Zealand, since Edward is relatively slim, not yet the fat puppet he will be from 1860 on. On the other hand, his painting of Bechy Head is dated 1862 and Sarah was back in England from late 1859 to 1865 and Lear might have visited the place with her then, but no mention is made of it in the diary.

1. S. & E. set out on a visit to Beachy Head. (Sarah & Edward!)
2. S. & E.  find a difficulty in getting over a large scraper.
3. S & E. descend a steep path towards the sea.

4. S. & E. find themselves involved among large rocks.
[No. 5 is missing.]
6. S. & E. perceive some Rocks resembling savages’ heads.

[7 & 8 are missing.]
9. E. Commences an ascent of a perpendicular rock with S.
10. S. & E. being alarmed by some large birds lose their footing and are precipitated down the perpendicular rock.

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3 Responses to Edward Lear Visits Beachy Head with His Sister Sarah

  1. I love how free these drawings are and capture a wonderful fun relationship between two siblings.

  2. Sara Lodge says:

    Thank you for posting this, Marco – it fits very well with the persistent themes of Lear’s other serial cartoons. What is the provenance?

    • Dear Sara,

      I found it at the end of the scans of Lear’s letters to his sister Ann: since the picture story is scanned before the cover I suppose it has been traced from Lear’s original and bound at the end of the volume, which I’ve never seen physically. Thanks for visiting. There will be more picture stories, though I’m sure you already know them.

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