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    Sale 7591

    British Art on Paper

    4 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 34

    Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    Adam's Peak, Ratnapura, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

    Price Realised  


    Edward Lear (1812-1888)
    Adam's Peak, Ratnapura, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
    watercolour, heightened with touches of bodycolour
    6 3/8 x 10¼ in. (16.3 x 26 cm.)

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    Lear's trip to India and Ceylon was the longest, and the last of the great expeditions. Lear had always wanted to visit India and Ceylon. Over thirty years earlier he had met a young man called Thomas George Baring in Rome, and they had been on sketching trips in the campagna. Baring became one of his most intimate friends. Lear wrote of him 'He is an extremely luminous and amiable brick'. Baring had now become, Lord Northbrook, and as the newly appointed Viceroy invited Lear to India. Lear landed at Bombay on 22 November 1873; not returning to his beloved San Remo until 12 January 1875.

    Adam's Peak is a famous mountain peak in south-west Ceylon. Lear first refers to Adam's Peak in his diary on 23 November 1874, as he glimpses sight of a distant view at sunrise from his cramped coach on his journey to Ratnapura. On the 27 November Lear writes:

    'Adam's Peak range quite clear, but we had to go as far as six miles when I got an outline. Yet it is all but impossible to make true and characteristic sketches hereabouts, because the only peeps whereby you obtain an outline, are accidental breaks and nowise natural to the scenery, which is all and absolutely chokafull of vegetation, and stuffy beyond belief. The sun was blazing hot, but rain kept off. Breakfast welcome at 12; haddock, mutton, etc., with five sorts of curries - all good. Afterwards, overhauled sketches and slept hard, for rain prevented all going out.'

    For another drawing executed during Lear's trip to India and Ceylon, see lot 33.

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    with Artemis Fine Arts, London, 1990.


    R. Murphy, Edward Lear's Indian Journal, London, 1953, p. 221.