Lear left England in July 1837 at the insistence of Lord Stanley, who had succeeded to the title of 13th Earl of Derby, with whom he had become friends whilst working at Knowsley. The trip was designed primarily to restore his ailing health, but also to provide Lear with the opportunity of painting. He arrived in Rome in December 1837 and from there toured Italy extensively before returning to England in 1841, when he published his first travel book Views in Rome and its Environs. At the end of 1841 Lear returned to Rome and remained abroad until April 1845, when he left to spend the summer in England. Lear remained in England until December 1846 and during this stay his second travel volume Excursions in Italy was published. He returned again to Rome, however the political situation there had deteriorated with many Italians campaigning for a united country against the autocratic rulers of the existing states. Many of the English wintering abroad decided that the atmosphere was too unsettled and had already left and in 1848, more than ten years after he had first left England, Lear decided to finally leave Rome and having been invited by Bowen, President of the University of Corfu, Lear journeyed to visit him and his love affair with the Island had begun (see lot 153).