Edward Lear (1812-1888)
Beirut, Lebanon
signed, inscribed and dated 'Edward Lear/1858/Beirut.' (lower left)
pen and ink and watercolour with gum arabic heightened with touches of white, on paper
6½ x 10¼ in. (16.5 x 26 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 14 November 1972, lot 105.
with Leger Galleries, London, January 1973.
London, The Fine Art Society, Watercolours by Edward Lear, November 1947, no. 10.

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Lot Essay

Lear visited the Middle East between March and June 1858, and after touring the Holy Land, he reached Beirut on 11 May, noting that 'So fine a view I suppose can hardly be imagined...the whole upper part of the mountain is bare & snowy, & forms an amphitheatre of heights, round a multitude of ravines & vallies [sic] - full of foliage & villages most glorious to see: - and all that descends step by step to the sea beyond!' (Letter to Ann in V. Noakes, The Painter Edward Lear, London, 1991, p. 76).

He was particularly taken by the 'famous Cedars of Lebanon', a watercolour of which was sold in these Rooms, 9 July 1996, lot 62, achieving a world record price for a work on paper by the artist.

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