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These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more NONSENSE DRAWINGS BY EDWARD LEAR, FROM THE COLLECTION OF NINA R. AND ARTHUR A. HOUGHTON, JR. (LOTS 121-129)Although rarely seen on the market, Lear’s Nonsense poems and limericks, with their accompanying drawings, are perhaps his best known works, familiar across the world. They come from the time Lear spent at Knowsley between 1831 and 1837, when he was commissioned to produce drawings of the menagerie of Lord Stanley, later the 13th Earl of Derby. Lear entertained the many children who visited Knowsley with poem and songs, and with a series of illustrated limericks. These were not gathered together and published until 1846, when they were published anonymously by Thomas McLean as Book of Nonsense. Several drawings exist for each published limerick, as he often gave them as gifts to children, and 48 Nonsense drawings remain in an album at Knowsley. He continued to produce Nonsense drawings and limericks throughout his life, and A Book of Nonsense was republished several times, alongside 3 further books of Nonsense drawings and limericks. Lear wrote to Norah Bruce in 1870, ‘Nonsense is the breath of my nostrils’, and his joy in the absurd and ridiculous is immediately obvious in these drawings. The present group of drawings relate to a variety of his Nonsense books, and indeed some were never published in Lear’s lifetime and are fairly recent discoveries.

'There was an old person of Skye, who was nearly a hundred feet high'

'There was an old person of Skye, who was nearly a hundred feet high'
inscribed 'There was an old person of Skye,/ Who was nearly a hundred feet high;/ He seemed to the people/ As tall as a steeple,/ And served as a lighthouse on Skye.' (upper left)
pen and brown ink, partial watermark '18...'
4 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (12.5 x 20 cm.)
V. Noakes, Edward Lear, The Complete Nonsense and Other Verse, London, 2006, p. 461.
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