Before leaving for his 1858 tour of the Holy Land Lear had been given two commissions by Lady Waldegrave, one of which was a view of Jerusalem and he set about finding the best position from which to paint the city. He went out each morning making preparatory drawings and wrote to his sister Ann '... just before sunrise the view of the city is most lovely, all gold and white beyond the dark fig and olive trees; but it is very difficult to draw correctly ; and unless it is quite so, the drawing is useless.' Lear's seriousness with regard to his painting is demonstrated by the fact that he also purchased photographs of the view 'in order that I might do justice exactly to the scene' (letter to Lady Waldegrave, 27 May 1858). The chosen view for the oil was a north-east view of the city. Lear was to visit Jerusalem again in 1867.