• Victorian & British Impression auction at Christies

    Sale 7788

    Victorian & British Impressionist Pictures Including Drawings and Watercolours

    16 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 52

    Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    Philae, Egypt

    Price Realised  


    Edward Lear (1812-1888)
    Philae, Egypt
    inscribed and dated 'Philae Feby 5&7.th 1854' (lower right) and numbered '182' (lower right, overmounted)
    pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour on paper
    11 3/8 x 19½ in. (29 x 49.5 cm.)

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    Lear first journeyed to Egypt in January 1849 but was only able to find time to visit Cairo and the Pyramids. At the end of 1853, however, he arrived in Cairo and immediately accepted an offer to travel up the Nile by boat. On reaching Philae the group set up camp and remained on the island for ten days which Lear spent sketching and recording the temples and the surrounding area. He wrote to his sister Ann 'It is impossible to describe the place to you, any further than saying it is more like a real fairy island than anything else I can compare it to. It is very small, & was formerly all covered with temples, of which the ruins of 5 or 6 now only remain. The great T. of Isis, on the terrace of which I now am writing, is so extremely wonderful that no words can give the least idea of it'. Lear was much taken by the scenery and the extraordinary light and colours. He painted at least twenty oils of Philae.

    For another watercolour of this subject by Lear see lot 53.

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    with Agnew's, London.
    Lord Bolton; Christie's, London, 18 November 1980, lot 200.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 17 November 2005, lot 71.
    with The Bourne Gallery, Surrey, where purchased by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text