Lear's expedition to India and Ceylon was the last, and longest, trip that he ever took. Lear was over sixty when Lord Northbrook (1826-1904), who was then Viceroy, invited him to travel to the sub-continent with all expenses taken care of. Initially he was reluctant to go, but on arrival he became 'nearly mad from sheer beauty & wonder of foliage! O new Palms!!! O flowers!! O creatures!! O beasts!! - anything more overpoweringly amazing cannot be Conceived!'. He reached Mahee at the beginning of November 1874, after travelling for almost a year, and was immediately taken by the scenery; '...the view there is a stunner!!! As a river scene can any other equal it?' (V. Noakes, Edward Lear, London, 1991, pp. 92-93). Mahee is a small town on the Malabar coast in southern India on the Arabian Sea; its name means 'eyebrow of the sea' in the local language.