Edward Lear (British, 1812-1888) El Luxor 17 x 25 cm. (6¾ x 9¾ in.)

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Lot 109
Edward Lear
(British, 1812-1888)
El Luxor 17 x 25 cm. (6¾ x 9¾ in.)

Sold for £ 7,200 (US$ 9,769) inc. premium
Edward Lear (British, 1812-1888)
El Luxor
extensively inscribed; dated '4.15pm / 22 Jany 1867' (lower left) and numbered '208' (lower right)
pen and ink and watercolour over pencil
17 x 25 cm. (6¾ x 9¾ in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Appleby Bros. Fine Art, London WC2.

    Lear first visited Egypt in 1849 and he expressed his excitement about the upcoming trip in a letter to his friend Lord Fortescue: "the contemplation of Egypt must fill the mind, the artistic mind I mean, with great food for the rumination of long years" (quoted in ed. Lady Strachey, The Letters of Edward Lear, 1907, pp.8-9). Indeed, he enjoyed the country so much that he made two further trips: during the winter of 1853-4 and again in December 1866 until March 1867.

    The present watercolour dates from that final visit, demonstrating the extent to which Lear was captivated by the Nile’s astonishing scenery. However, it was Egypt’s rich colours that Lear found most remarkable, consequently filling his diary with details of their extraordinary brilliance and variety:

    "It will be difficult to work out anything like the sentiment - of the infinite detail of rocks!...the upper side light, the lower so dark. In the foreground - the pale rock & gritty sand is blazing bright - while all below is a dark depth. The farthest range of hills is sandy pale, with grey from crowds of rocks."

    However, Lear seemed to relish these challenges: "In no place – it seems to me, can the variety & simplicity of colours be so well studied as in Egypt; in no place are the various beauties of shadow more observable, or more interminably numerous. Every mud bank is a picture, every palm - every incident of peasant life" (Edward Lear, Diary, 25th February 1867).
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