The Berger Collection


Edward Lear (1812-1888)
Nuneham, 1860
Oil on canvas
Signed with monogram and dated at lower left, 1860.
20 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. (52 x 77.5 cm)

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Best known today as a writer of “nonsense” verse for children, Lear also enjoyed a successful career as a painter of topographical landscapes. Like David Roberts, he traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East. This is one of Lear’s rare pictures of his native land. Commissioned by his friend and patron Lady Waldegrave, it depicts a view of her country estate at Nuneham in Oxfordshire. In reply to her invitation that he stay at her house while making the painting, Lear warned her that while working “…I am more or less necessarily disagreeable and absent, and should certainly answer ‘Elm trees and bridges,’ if they asked me whether I would ‘take tea or coffee.’”


Provenance

Commissioned by Frances, Countess Waldegrave; private collection, U.K.; Christie's, London, June 6, 1997, lot 114.

Bibliography

Lady Strachey (ed.), Letters of Edward Lear, 1907, p. 316; Vivien Noakes, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer, 1968, pp. 179-180; Vivien Noakes, The Painter Edward Lear, 1991, pp. 74-75, repr.; Peter Levi, Edward Lear: A Biography, 1995, p. 178


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