Edward Lear Bicentenary Events

I have moved all annoucements of past events to a new page:

  • Wednesday, 7 November 2012: The Nonsense Songs Of Edward Lear – A Song-Cycle By David Lawrence. The first performance of this work, composed to mark the 200th anniversary of Lear’s birth, is to take place in Cork, Republic of Ireland, on Wednesday November 7th. It will be performed by Eoghan Desmond (Baritone) and Colin Nicholls (Piano). Further details can be obtained from: David Lawrence, telephone 0044-1544-370330 (UK) or from Kay Desmond, telephone 00353-21487-5310 or 00353-86607-3645 (Ireland).
    The work, which is about 90 minutes long, consists of settings of:
    How Pleasant to Know My Lear
    The Nutcrackers and the Sugar-Tongs
    The Jumblies
    The Pelican Chorus
    The Pobble who has No Toes
    The Quangle-Wangle’s Hat
    The New Vestments
    Mr and Mrs Discobbolos (Parts 1 & 2)
    The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo
    Incidents in the Life of Mr Uncle Arly.
  • Friday 14 September 2012 ― Sunday 19 May 2013: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Grisogorious Places: Edward Lear’s Travels exhibition.
  • 20 September 2012 ― 6 January 2013: The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, will put on a display of its Edward Lear Collection. Details. There will also be a series of lectures about Lear: those for September are listed here.
  • 12 October ― 17 November 2012: Happy Birthday Edward Lear, at The Concourse Gallery, Michael Andrews Building, Southampton Solent University, SO14 0YN.
  • Sunday 14 October, 4.30 pm: Edward Lear will be featured on Radio 4’s Poetry Please. The programme will be repeated on Saturday 20 October and will be available via iPlayer on the RAdio 4 website.
  • Wednesday 31 October 2012, 2-3 pm: Edward Lear and his Cretan Drawings, with Stephen Duckworth. Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
  • Thursday, 1 November 2012, 6 pm.  Edward Lear’s Lines of Flight, the 2012 British Academy Chatterton Lecture on Poetry by Dr. Matthew Bevis of Keble College, Oxford who will talk about Lear’s paintings as well as his poetry. The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH, phone: 0207-969 5200. Page.

  • Friday 9 November 2012: Amblongus Pie: Dance, Music, Verse, and Song will include a contemporary musical setting and reading of Edward Lear’s “Nonsense Cookery” in honor of Lear’s 200th birthday. Julia Bentley, a Chicago based mezzo-soprano, accompanied by pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, along with members of the Lehrer Dance Company, will be performing. Dr. Ann C. Colley, SUNY Distinguished Professor, is literary advisor to the event. The concert will take place in the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium in the Burchfield Penney Art Centre in Buffalo, New York.
  • Wednesday 14 November 2012, 2-3.30 pm: Edward Lear: Zoology, Landscape, Nonsense and the Demon of Epilepsy, with Charles Lewsen. Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
  • Friday 23 November 2012, 2-3 pm: Letters from the Lake District; Charles Nugent talks about two newly discovered letters written by Lear in the Lake District and how they shed light on his first major sketching tour. Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
  • Tuesday 4 December 2012, 2-3 pm: Pyramids, Philae and Petra: Edward Lear’s Travels in the Near East, with Briony Llewelyn. Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
  • 10 December 2012, 9.30: Charles Lewsen will be speaking to the Bristol Medical History Society about Edward Lear’s Epilepsy. The John Zorab Lecture Theatre, the Medical Education Centre, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.
  • Friday 14 December 2012, 5-7.30 pm: In Conversation: Michael Rosen and Colin Harrison; the Story Museum’s Curator of Stories talks to Colin Harrison about the two sides of Lear’s art – his accomplished paintings of flora and fauna, and the nonsense sketches which accompanied his verses. The Story Museum, Oxford.

Please visit the Facebook page, and don’t forget to check my Edward Lear’s Diaries blog, which will keep posting Lear’s journal entries right up to his fiftieth birthday.

33 Responses to Edward Lear Bicentenary Events

  1. BBC Radio 4 ‘Word of Mouth’ (which I present) is going to hold an afternoon festival of nonsense at Bristol BBC in March. The edited highlights will be broadcast in the first of the Spring run of the programme.
    best wishes
    Michael Rosen

    • worldwarzoogardener1939 says:

      Many many thanks Michael for this – let us know the broadcast times when you know, closer to the time and we can add this to the events page.
      We are running a Lear bicentenary ideas blog http://teachingnonsenseinschools.wordpress.com
      for International owl and Puyycat Day, celebrating Lear’s famous poem and encouraging people in as many different venues and schools around the world to recite or perform this poem on or close to Lear’s birthday.
      We’ve had a few top tips so far. Michael, do you have any top tips for sharing this poem with children in class? or a mixed audience of adults and childrens?

  2. I am so very glad I have found this blog, I had no idea it was the Bicentennial!

    I have a fabulous new shadow puppet show using a suitcase theatre using Lear’s poem, “The New Vestments”, but as it is so little known I have called the show “Edward Lear’s Nonsense”. I have set it to an original tune and there is a short promotional video of it on You-Tube and you can read about it on my blog and website too! http://www.roughmagictheatre.co.uk/html/jabberwocky_.html

    I will follow up the events you have highlighted above but if anyone wants to contact me direct about it, please do!

  3. I now have a date: the first programme in the spring series of Radio 4’s Word of Mouth is on March 20 at 4.00pm, repeated on March 26 at 11.00pm. The programme will be recorded in a library in Bristol on March 17. I will mc about 80 ,minutes of Learish fun with an audience of all ages from the very youngest to the oldest. Guests are being finalised now but one of them we know is the magnificent Lear look-a-like comic writer Philip Ardagh. A pea-green boat is being prepared and we will sail to eg the land where the Bong Tree grows and/or where the Jumblies live etc etc.

    Nonsense being written now and in Lear-like fashion – perhaps poems from own two books of nonsense will be served up too.

    The event and the broadcast will be Lear alive and well for the audience that he knew how to entertain and delight.

    With my more academic hat on as Prof of Children’s Lit at Birkbeck, Univ of London, I am looking forward to coming to at least one day at the conference in September. And there is the possibility of a talk-fun-day at the British Library…fingers crossed.

    • Hello
      If you go to the :Tune Up” page on our website http://www.hiccuptheatre.co.uk you will find the songs we have created using Edward lear’s nonsense language. They have been written by award winning composer Ivan Stott. Please contact us if you would like to use any of them in your events. They really are rather special!
      Many thanks

  4. Ivan Stott says:

    Hiccup Theatre, a professional Theatre Company based in Winchester, Hampshire are about to embark on a national tour of our version of The Owl and the Pussycat! Dramaturged by Mike Kenny (Olivier Award winning playwright, The Railway Children) Suitable for ages 3-7 and their families and on tour from February-June 2012 including Lyric Hammersmith, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Lowry and many more! See http://www.hiccuptheatre.co.uk/ for full tour dates, pictures and music from the show! Also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

  5. Artie Romero says:

    We are happy to find this blog with so much great info about Edward Lear. We would like to promote the story of Mr Lear’s life and works on the occasion of his 200th birthday. What do you think about lobbying Google for a Google Doodle on May 12?

    • Mark Norris says:

      A number of us have already contacted them but I’m sure more requests would be welcome – contact them via their website. We haven’t heard yet if they plan to do so on May 12th.

      • The Google page said each suggestion is read and considered, although they rarely answer such emails. The address is proposals@google.com, and you may include the phrase “Google doodle” in the subject to assure it reaches that team. I believe that Mr. Lear was an important figure in literature worldwide, and his bicentennial is worthy of a worldwide doodle, as opposed to limiting it to Google UK.

  6. We’re huge fans of A Blog of Bosh – and thank the dedication of the editor for keeping it going for so long (and long may it live!). We’ve also been meaning to be in touch around our Adventures in Nonsense project (an adventure game set in Lear’s Lands of Nonsense, which we’re aiming for a 2013 release date).

  7. Serena says:

    Hi Marco, will there be any celebrations anywhere in Italy for Lear’s bicentenary? Lear loved Italy and spent quite some time there so I am surprised to see that no celebrations seem to have been planned. In Liguria maybe? Thanks!
    Serena

    • Nothing has been announced yet, but there might be something in Sanremo.

      • To celebrate Edward Lear’s bicentennial in Italy, there will be a solo show at the gallery of the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy:

        SG Gallery
        Scuola Internazionale gi Grafica
        Cannaregio 1798 | 30121, Venezia | TEL. 041 721.950

        Wordscapes/Parolaesaggi: Text from the Landscapes of Edward Lear(1812-1888)

        This exhibition is an installation of 10 artist’s books by Angela Lorenz(USA) based on watercolor landscape paintings by the artist and poet Edward Lear housed in Houghton Library, Harvard University. But it is up to the viewer to imagine the landscapes, using only the words Lear placed in each image, as a guide for himself, and for his amusement. Artist’s directions to themselves are known as aide-mémoires, yet these annotations verge on poetry, scattered throughout the picture ground, referencing sounds, feelings and weather, with silly variations on spelling. Lorenz painted these words in in black oil paint on a white canvas ground, and bound the canvases together with a technique used to close nomad saddle bags. Edward Lear lived much of his life in Italy, but traveled on foot with a camp bed throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia looking for landscapes to paint.

        The exhibition opens April 27 and runs through May 25, 2012

  8. Artie Romero says:

    “Edward Lear’s Nonsense Stories,” our series of short cartoon webisodes for YouTube will premiere on Sunday, April 1st, 2012. Yes, April Fools Day. On that date there will be a very prominent link to the show’s new channel on our animation studio’s website, Artie.com. We are now putting the finishing touches on the first season’s 33 shows. In honor of Mr. Lear’s 200th birthday, there will be an anthology of the first six shows on a nationwide syndicated television program in the U.S. in the fourth season of “Sprockets and Splices,” a showcase of independent film shorts. Each show features one Lear limerick from A Book of Nonsense (1846). Complete YouTube and TV schedules for the cartoons will soon be posted on our website.

  9. There is a solo show by an American artist in Venice, Italy for Edward Lear’s birthday celebration:

    SG Gallery
    Scuola Internazionale gi Grafica
    Cannaregio 1798 | 30121, Venezia | TEL. 041 721.950

    Wordscapes/Parolaesaggi: Text from the Landscapes of Edward Lear(1812-1888)

    This exhibition is an installation of 10 artist’s books by Angela Lorenz(USA) based on watercolor landscape paintings by the artist and poet Edward Lear housed in Houghton Library, Harvard University. But it is up to the viewer to imagine the landscapes, using only the words Lear placed in each image, as a guide for himself, and for his amusement. Artist’s directions to themselves are known as aide-mémoires, yet these annotations verge on poetry, scattered throughout the picture ground, referencing sounds, feelings and weather, with silly variations on spelling. Lorenz painted these words in in black oil paint on a white canvas ground, and bound the canvases together with a technique used to close nomad saddle bags. Edward Lear lived much of his life in Italy, but traveled on foot with a camp bed throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia looking for landscapes to paint.

    The exhibition opens April 27 and runs through May 25, 2012

  10. Colin Webb says:

    May I also draw your atention to the fabulous new book collection illustrated by Robert Ingen and published in the UK by Templar. Produced by us of course.

    http://www.palazzoeditions.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=396:the-owl-and-the-pussycat&catid=59:t&Itemid=77

    Colin Webb

  11. http://www.thecollectionmuseum.com/?/exhibitions-and-events/view/too-vainy-and-bumptious is the link for the Lincoln exhibition at The Collection from 12 April. There is also an online exhibition at http://www.lincstothepast.com/exhibitions/tennyson/how-pleasant-to-know-mr-lear. http://www.lincstothepast.com is Lincolnshire’s online catalogue of the holdings of its museums, archives and libraries.

  12. Alice says:

    What a wonderful programme of events! Carcanet Press have published a superb edition of Edward Lear’s Selected Nonsense and Travel Writings: ‘Over the Land and Over the Sea’ to celebrate the bicentenary: http://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9781857547597. We’d really like to publicise Saturday’s events to our readers – can I just check whether the ceremony at Westminster Abbey is open to the public? Many thanks.

  13. twitmericks says:

    I’m sadly stuck at work on Saturday and Sunday so unable to come to these great weekend events. On Saturday I will have been tweeting limericks about the news every day for a year, so as my own tribute I’ve written some thoughts on Lear and limericks then and now, with a couple of twitmerick versions of old classics, on the blog at http://twitmericks.com. Have a great weekend.

  14. Great Blog! Hurrah for Edward Lear. As a mark of respect I shall endeavour to do the “Owl and Pussycat Dance”. Quite what that is, I have absolutely no idea but one can only but try. http://alexisdimyan.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/the-magic-of-edward-lear/

  15. I was so surprised to find out this week of Lear’s 200th Birthday this Saturday. I had just recently finished a video homage of The Owl & the Pussycat, my absolute favorite. Consider it a celebration from across the pond! Cheers!!

    (The art is original. sfx are open source.) (The kitty is Junebug, a patient model)

  16. Joe Cushnan says:

    From “Dropped The Moon” poetry – http://droppedthemoon.blogspot.co.uk/
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EDWARD LEAR
    Edward Lear, the poet of nonsensical stuff,
    Took his pen and his pad to his desk,
    He took some funny and plenty of punny
    To compose something quite humoresque.
    Mr Lear looked over to his cat on the chair
    And hummed a hummable tune,
    “O Pussycat, Pussycat, o how I pray,
    you’d get your whiskers out of that tray,
    I pray,
    I pray,
    I need your help with my writing today.”

    The Cat said to Lear: “You taskmaster you,
    Happy to help but me how?”
    “I’ve got an idea,” said Lear to the Cat,
    “so I need your attention right now?
    “What if you and a bird that can hoot,
    decided to head for the ocean,
    with a nectar supply and loads of cash,
    would you ever consider the notion,
    the notion,
    the notion,
    would it be too much of a commotion?”

    The Cat put his paw to his chin in a ponder,
    And with a fur-bally cough cleared his throat:
    “I think it’s got legs, I think it might work,
    but what colour would be the boat?”
    Lear sat up and pondered himself,
    Then gave the thumbs up and a nod:
    “I’ve got it, I think, not blue, red or pink,
    not blue, red or pink,
    not blue, red or pink,
    but the colour of peas in a pod.”

    And so was born a world famous verse,
    From a meeting of poet and cat,
    The owl and the others signed up for the gig
    And that, my dear readers, was that.”

  17. Two birthday poems for Edward Lear

    Limerick by Robin Saunders

    There once was a poet named Ed
    Whose beard was too big for his head
    His rhymes were absurd
    But the cat and the bird
    Are still sailing long after he’s dead.

    Defying Gravity by Barbara Saunders.

    Portly Lear prances with his cat,
    feet and paws so small
    that dancing defies gravity.
    I’m not adverse to nonsense verse
    tall stories are a call
    to all defying gravity.

  18. Michele says:

    I’m hoping someone finding this blog can answer this query: I have a charming pair of prints, bought forty years ago at Argosy Bookshop in Manhattan, that I’ve always thought were Lear illustrations. One is labeled “Feeding the Dodo,” while the other, the “bad-news” one, is titled “The Dodo Feeding Himself” — since it reveals the Dodo and a friend turning the tables on their kindly visitors (i.e., swallowing them). The two large Dodos are black-and-white striped, and there are owls and squirrels watching from branches above, while a gent brandishing a rolled umbrella and riding what looks to be a wild pig gallops in from the right-hand side.
    But I just was talking to a friend who’s a scholar-collector-dealer and he seemed to draw a blank on these two images, which led me online to do a bit of research. The style is entirely Lear-like, but I’m reluctant to un-frame them to see if any further clues exist.
    Maybe I’m simply having a moment of unreasonable, unfounded doubt. I feel like the bin where I got them, all those years ago, was labeled “Lear prints.” Help and further information as any origins will be greatly appreciated.

    • Charles Lewsen says:

      Perhaps someone has already offered to look at the pictures. If not and you can scan them and send the images in an email attachment, I’d love to see them and show them to others for their comments – Charles Lewsen

  19. Andrew Sington says:

    For how long does the British Museum exhibition run? It starts 14th May.

    • I’m afraid it’s already over: it is not listed in the exhibitions page.

      • Andrew Sington says:

        Thanks Marco. What a pity! We have an original Lear watercolour of ‘Jaffa’ dated 12th May 1838 and Numbered 166 of which I understand there are only 2 other examples in the series – of which HM The Queen has one and the other is in the National. We would love to see other examples – do you know of any other opportunities? Regards, Andrew

  20. Andrew Sington says:

    Sorry – forgot to advise I’m UK based. Andrew

  21. Nathaniel Mann says:

    Hello, my name is Nathaniel Mann, I am the new Resident Composer at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/composer_residency.html

    I thought perhaps you would enjoy my interpretation of Lear’s poem The Owl & the Pussycat:
    http://vimeo.com/m/47296626

    The Owl & The Pussycat by Edward Lear. Arranged & Sung by Nathaniel Mann & Animated by Blanca Nieto.
    Enjoy!

  22. Louise Schweitzer. says:

    May I tell you all about my doctoral thesis on Victorian Nonsense Poetry, perhaps the only one of its kind ever?…( I await reactions from other Doctors of Nonsense as yet unknown) About a third of it is about Edward Lear and I think there are new discoveries about some musical settings by later composers. It’s called One Wild Flower because that is what Walter de la Mare called Victorian Nonsense and it has just been published by Austin Macauley. Hurrah. Louise Schweitzer.

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