Edward Lear, Letter to Montgomery and Picture Letter

Edward Lear,
Autograph letter signed to “My dear Montgomery”, reading “I am just about to pack and send off your two drawings of Athens – after all without any ‘howls’ – large or small. But I have to thank you for your criticism about the Parthenon, and it is bestonishing how much the drawing has improved since I have done away with the dark shadow and the thundercloud. I could not have fancied so great a change for the better, but the fact has been that I am often so blinded by the glare of Jenny Sneak’s Hotel, that I do not well see what colour I do or do not use.
I hope you will like the drawing now much better than you did, though I acknowledge it has many imperfections – and when I have completed one more Athenian drawing […] I never intend to do any architectural subject anymore, but to stick to pure landscape – trees – plains – hills – rivers – toads etc – but no prominent building henceforth and forever, my sight having been so injured by this Cursed Hotel that I cannot trust my one remaining eye for lines, diameters, hexameters, thermometers. The 2 drawings are to be left in charge of Messr. Foord & Dickenson […] until you direct when and where they are to be sent. And you can now at your pleasure and leisure, pay me the £70 in a crossed cheque sent me here by post – the casual way – or by paying the same into my account”, four pages, splitting along central fold, folding marks, scattered foxing, browning to ink, small 8vo , Villa Emily, Sanremo, 16 April 1881.
Plus another item (2) [which I suppose is the picture letter, dated “23. Aug.t” so perhaps unrelated.]


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Edward Lear, Monte Generoso (1878)

Edward Lear, Monte Generoso, Italy.
Pen and brown ink and watercolour over pencil. Inscribed and dated: Monte Generoso / 5. August 1878/ 2-4 pm./ (& 6th 10-11.30/am) and further inscribed with colour notes. 380 by 542 mm

Monte Generoso is situated on the Italian-Swiss border to the west of Lake Como. Lear visited there for the first time in 1878 and was often to return during the summer months. He found the mountain scenery to be inspirational and in a letter to his nephew he wrote that ‘the views near the hotel…are wonderful. There is one point from which you may (perhaps) see all the plains and lakes of Italy, besides the rivers Jordan, Mississippi & Amazon, the whole course of the Nile, – as well as the cities of Pekin, St. Petersburg & Copenhagen, not to speak of the straits of Jamaica & Joppa with the adjacent islands of Cappadocia, Ceylon and Islington.’1

1. V. Noakes, Edward Lear 1812-1888, London 1985, p. 122


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Edward Lear, Syra, Greece (1856)

Edward Lear, Syra, Greece.
Pen and brown ink and watercolour over pencil. Inscribed and dated lower left: Syra. Octr 4 1856, further inscribed with the artist’s colour notes301 by 500 mm.

Edward Lear travelled extensively throughout Greece in the 1850s and 1860s and his watercolours are an important visual record of a nation in a state of transition from the period of Ottoman rule to that of the country known today. This large, on-the-spot watercolour, was made on 4th October 1856 and shows the island of Syros in the Aegean Sea. Lear focuses on the town of Ano Syros, with its neo-classical buildings, old mansions, white houses and windmills, that cascade down to the harbour below.


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Edward Lear, Helicon and Lake Capais from the Moutains above Kokhino on the Way to Thebes

Edward Lear, Helicon and Lake Capais from the Moutains above Kokhino on the Way to Thebes.
Pen and brown ink and watercolour over pencil. Inscribed with the title and the artist’s colour notes.

Lear drew this watercolour during his first visit to Greece in June and July 1848. Upon his arrival in Thebes he wrote to his sister, Ann, that ‘its situation and the view over the vast plain to Mount Parnassus and Helicon are most surprisingly beautiful.’1

1. V. Noakes, Edward Lear, Selected Letters, Oxford 1988, p. 81


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Edward Lear’s Copy of Colenso’s Ten Weeks in Natal

On John William Colenso.

The Saleroom.

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Cuthbert Bede’s Limericks

BEDE, Cuthbert, pseud. (Edward Bradley) & HOW, William Walsham, Bishop of Wakefield. (A Collection of 24 Manuscript Limericks, each with an original ink illustration by Cuthbert Bede.) 4to. [1846]
Full red roan, blind borders; rather rubbed.

The volume contains a note by the Bishop that Edward Bradley did the amusing illustrations for him, for rhymes written in about 1846. Not all the limericks, in the Lear fashion, carry How’s H. signature. A portrait of How is laid down on leading pastedown. How, 1823-1897, was a prolific author & writer of over 50 hymns, but there is no record of any published limericks. He studied at both Oxford & Durham and became curate at St. George’s, Kidderminster 1846-48, while Bradley returned to his home town to work in the clergy schools in Kidderminster, c.1849-50.


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Edward Lear, An Unpublished Letter

The letter below was probably addressed to Charles Marcus Church‘s brother when Edward Lear got back to England after a long period abroad. Lear and Church had travelled in Greece in 1848 (see Edward Lear’s Grecian Travels) and Church had taken care of Lear when he had been seriously ill.

Blaine Castle. Bristol.
22.Aug.t 1849.

My dear Sir –

Have you not heard anything yet of Charles?

I cannot help writing to ask you & to beg that you will send me a line saying where he was last heard of, & how he is. Pray excuse my troubling you again, but your brother will tell you I am a fidget by nature, tho’ in this case my anxiety is natural enough as he was so very kind to me when I was ill.

A note addressed to me at
17. Duke St.
St. James’s
will always reach me.

After October I trust to be settled in my new lodgings –
Stratford Place – & there some time I shall hope to make your acquaintance & shew you some of my drawings.

Believe me,
Dear Sir,
Your’s very truly,
                        Edward Lear

The scans from the seller’s page:

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