Lear first visited Corfu in 1848, to see Sir George Bowen, President of the University of Corfu and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the island. In 1855 Lear's friend Lushington was appointed judge in the British protectorate of Corfu and suggested that Lear might go with him; they remained there until Lushington resigned his post in 1858.
Lear wrote to his sister Ann of Ithaca 'Ithaca, Ulysses Kingdom, is a little island, and charmingly quiet. I delight in it ... in the afternoon we went to the fountain of Arethusa.'
The fountain of Arethusa is mentioned in Homer's Odyssey and is below the Korax rock in an extremely steep slope. It may be this mention of the place in ancient literature which attracted Lear and he returned to paint the rock in 1863 saying: 'The most remarkable spot in the Southern portion of the Island is the glen ot hollow, shut in by the great perpendicular cliff called Korax.' A view of the rock Korax was sold Christie's, London, 16 November 1982, lot 66, £6,600.