CHRISTIE’S have negotiated the sale of a major collection of watercolours of Greece by Edward Lear to the nation in lieu of tax. The 32 pictures come from the estate of the late Sir Steven Runciman and are expected to go the National Galleries of Scotland.

They date to Lear’s winters in Greece and the island of Corfu between 1848 and 1864. The artist intended the sketches to serve as a basis for later studio works and they were reproduced as illustrations for Edward Lear in Greece.