Avápessa, Corsica signed with monogram (lower left) watercolour 33 x 50cm (13 x 19 11/16in).
LITERATURE: Edward Lear, Journal of a Landscape Painter in Corsica, Bush, London, 1870
Edward Lear made several excursions around Europe during his career and was a meticulous recorder of his experiences. Having spent the winter of 1867/68 at Cannes, he left for Corsica in April 1968 and arrived at Avápessa on 30 May. The present lot dates from the few days he spent in the area and relates to the following extract taken from his Journal of a landscape painter (1870), in which the painting is illustrated:
"Lavatoggio, Cáttari, Avápessa - still new villages are passed, and still the eye delights in fresh and enchanting views; here you pause to look at a particularly graceful hamlet with its tall church spire and cluster of brown flat-roofed houses; a little way on you are arrested by park-like tracts of oak and corn-fields, dipping down to a broad plain-like flat, edged with Ithome-like hills and promontories, with interlacings of cultivated levels to the shining sea and pale Cap Corse.
Near Muro the mid-day halt is ordained by Flore and Co, and breakfast hastily despatched below a friendly oak. To allow of my walking back three kilometers in order to make a difficult drawing of the lovely scene near Avápassa, as well as of one or two more near Muro; for having now seen one side, or wing, so to speak, of this theatre, I have selected these two out of a multitude of almost equally beautiful subjects.
Indeed, a theatre is no bad simile as applied to this great basin, by far the most industriously cultivated, the most cheerful and beautiful in all Corsica - the oak woods and the great cliffs above may represent the galleries; and, next in order, the villages, gardens and terraces stand for tiers and boxes; the flat level of olives and corn for the pit; the sea and remote hills for the stage and scenery"1
1. Edward Lear, Journal of a Landscape Painter in Corsica Bush, London, 1870, chapter XI, pp. 227-229. Illustrated engraving by J.D.Cooper, plate XXXVII.