20 November 2003
Edward Lear (1812-1888)
A Varied Lorikeet, Trichoglossus Versicolor, an illustration for Sir William Jardine's The Naturalist's Library
signed 'E. Lear' (lower left, on the branch), inscribed 'plate 21' (lower left), and 'Trichoglossus Versicolor.' (lower right)
pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour, with gum arabic
6 7/8 x 4½ in. (17.5 x 11.5 cm.)
Sir William Jardine, and by descent in the family, from whom purchased by
Christopher E. Dalgety; Sotheby's, London, 13 June 1961, lot 280.
with Agnew's, London, 1962, where purchased by the present owner.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
W.H. Lizars, The Naturalist's Library, 1843, vol. XVIII, pl. xxi.
Agnew's, London and Edinburgh, 89th Annual Exhibition of Watercolour Drawings, London, 1962, no. 89.
The present lot and lot 75 were executed for Jardine's Naturalist's Library, vol. XVIII, Ornithology Parrots, by P.J. Selby.
Lear served an informal apprenticeship with Prideaux Selby (1788-1867) and executed some of the drawings later published in Selby's Illustrations of British Ornithology, published in 19 parts between 1821 and 1834. Selby influenced Lear with his lively approach to ornithological work which he was to develop in his own publication, Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots, which he published between 1830 and 1832. the project was innovatory in that it was the first work devoted to a single family of birds and in that he worked from living birds rather than from stuffed ones. This work gave Lear a high standing as an ornithological draughtsman and at the tender age of eighteen he was nominated an Associate of the Linnean Society.
Illustrations of British Ornithology had been a joint project between Selby and Sir William Jardine, who previously owned this and the following lot and who edited The Naturalists library in which both drawings were published as engravings by Selby.
Sir Steven Runciman recalls in the exhibition of his works by Lear in Edinburgh 'I was first conscious of Lear as an artist when in my teens I saw some of his drawings of the parrot family.'
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basisThis lot is subject to Collection and Storage charges
Textile designer Neisha Crosland on why she was drawn to a Raoul Dufy advertisement for a Bianchini Férier fabric
Orlando Rock, Chairman of Christie’s UK, and Robert Copley, International Head of Furniture, on the telltale techniques of Britain’s greatest furniture-maker