The Berger Collection

Collection: Edward Lear (1812-1888)

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

Best known for his limericks, published as A Book of Nonsense (1846), and the children’s poem The Owl and the Pussycat (1871), Edward Lear was almost entirely self-taught as an artist. His earliest work was as an ornithological draftsman, and in 1830–32 he published Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots, a set of lithographed plates after his drawings. By 1834 he had begun making landscape drawings employing the precise draftsmanship he practiced as a natural history illustrator. In 1837 he visited Rome and, except for brief interludes, lived the rest of his life abroad, traveling throughout the Mediterranean, the Near East, Africa, and South Asia and producing thousands of drawings of the sites he visited. These drawings became the basis for his oil paintings and watercolors. During the 1850s he exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy, and in later years depended on the patronage of aristocratic friends. He was favored by Queen Victoria, whom he instructed in the art of drawing.