Wednesday - 23 July 2014

First show for Lear works

28 August 2012Written by Tom Derbyshire

EXHIBITION: The bicentenary of the birth of Edward Lear will see works from private collections go on display for the first time during an exhibition at the Ashmolean.

The Oxford museum is home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of his work in the UK, and this show from September 20 to January 6 covers all aspects of his career.

Among the 100 works of art, ranging from early natural history illustrations and landscape sketches to the nonsense drawings and verses he is widely known for, will also be examples from the Bodleian Library.

Happy Birthday Edward Lear: 200 Years of Nature and Nonsense presents his work chronologically, including watercolours, oil paintings, manuscripts and illustrated books.

More than 30 loans from private collections and the University of Oxford's libraries bring together editions of the books Lear illustrated early is his career, such as travel books, natural history publications and the principal editons of his nonsense books - including the very rare first one.

Lear (1812-1888) saw himself primarily as an artist and the exhibition has watercolours of animals and birds, sketches from Greece, Italy, Egypt, the Near East and India, and a group of the Tennyson illustrations on which he spent the last 20 years of his life.

Oils include rarely-seen views of Beachy Head, Venice and landscapes in the Near East, and the great view of Jerusalem painted in 1865, now in the Ashmolean.

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