Edward Lear, L is much disturbed by several large flies, a drawing in pen and ink

England, AD 1842

A page from a humorous travelogue

Edward Lear (1812-1888) is most famous as the author of verse and limericks, collected in such volumes as A Book of Nonsense (1846), which he often illustrated himself. Although mostly self-taught, he was a prolific landscapist and in 1846 was briefly Drawing Master to Queen Victoria, a job he described as ‘Painter-Laureate and Boshproducing Luminary'.

This jolly sketch, in the manner of his comic illustrations, records an incident on a journey through Italy with his friend Charles Knight ('K'). This is one of twenty-one from the series in the British Museum's collections. They picture the mundane frustrations of the traveller with whimsical humour.

The upper caption reads ‘K. And L. pass Casape & Poli returning by Gallicano to Lagardo'. Lear wintered in Rome from 1837 to 1841 and visited throughout Italy, later travelling further abroad to Greece, Egypt, India and Ceylon.

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V. Noakes, Edward Lear, 1812-1888 (London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1985)


Height: 133.000 mm
Width: 193.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1970-4-11-43



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