Lear was in the Holy Land in March-April 1858, commissioned by Lady Waldegrave to do two oil paintings, one of Jerusalem. He wrote of the Dead Sea in his Diary, 22 March 1858, '.... clear milky far blue, into farther part rosy mountains'. (Vivien Noakes, Edward Lear, London, 1979 edition p. 125).
There is a larger version of this composition with a figure sketched in lower right, 20 x 12¼in., in the Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, dated 17 April 1858 and identified as depicting the 'Dead Sea-/near Wady Ez-zuweinel [?]'. Lear also used the composition as one of his designs illustrating the poems of Tennyson, no. 19: 'as the tree/stands in the Sun and shadows all beneath, (Love and death.)/The Dead Sea/Palestine' (see Ruth Pitman, Edward Lear's Tennyson, Manchester and New York, 1988, pp. 54-5, 198 repr.).
Lord Northbrook (for whom see lot 100) had three sisters, two of whom were unmarried