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EDWARD LEAR AND SAN REMO
In March 1870 Edward Lear signed a contract to purchase land in San Remo. The purpose of which was to build Villa Emily, where Lear planned to spend his final years. Although the landscape of San Remo was as disappointing for Lear as it had been five years previously, (he described it as 'bald, with skimpy meagre olive trees'), the land was cheap and far enough away from the rumblings of the Franco-Prussian War. The lengthy building of Villa Emily meant that Lear travelled extensively around the surrounding areas of San Remo. In order to escape summer heat of the coast, Lear went up into the mountains near Turin, residing in the hotel La Certosa del Pesio. Although this was a particularly difficult time for Lear, in terms of poor health and financial worry, he was not deterred, exclaiming in his diary: 'I hate life unless I work always'. Subsequently he produced many ink sketches of numerous places between San Remo and Turin.
These watercolours are executed in pencil and penned out in his studio. Lear would have felt no need to go back and add washes of colour as he had no intention of showing these drawings as there was lat that time little likelihood of future commissions or a resultant publication.