Lear saw Mount Parnassus on his tour of mainland Greece with Franklin Lushington in 1848-9. He refers to it in his journal for 13 April 1849 (see S. Hyman, Edward Lear in the Levant, 1988, p. 127). A drawing showing the same view as this lot, which is in the Gennadius Library, Athens, is inscribed 'Parnassus./12 April. 2. P.M. 1849/(162)' (illustrated in Edward Lear in Greece, exhibition catalogue, The International Exhibitions Foundation tour, Amherst College, Massachusetts, Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina etc., 1971-2, no. 23), and another view in the same collection, made on the same day is inscribed 'Parnassus. (Livadhia)/5½ P.M.)/April 12. 1849', illustrated, op.cit., no. 24..
Lear listed six oils of Parnassus in his letter of 1877 (Lady Strachey, Letters of Edward Lear, 1907, p. 314, no. 120, p. 31, no. 162, p. 316, nos. 171, 172 and 173). The oil painting referred to on this drawing is no. 162, painted for Sir Richard Bethell, Baron Westbury (1861). It was exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1852 as 'Mount Parnassus, and the Plains of Boetia, Northern Greece'. Westbury was M.P. for Aylesbury (1851-9) and for Wolverhampton (1859-61) and Lord Chancellor of England (1861-5).