Three Lear Limericks

Although it may sound sacrilegious, some artists have actually chosen to re-illustrate the verses in Edward Lear’s A Book of Nonsense. These Latter Day Neo Reform Limericks keep popping up everyday in bookshops.

Janina Domanska

It’s not that Lear didn’t get it, or that Lear couldn’t draw, it’s just that that was then and this is now. When Renaissance artists painted Biblical scenes, they didn’t depict the patriarchs as scruffy, unwashed, nomads, they sketched them as wealthy Italian noblemen wearing proper garb. And so Lear’s old men are drawn according to modern views for modern times. They aren’t better; they aren’t worse; they are just different.

Displayed here are a number of modern illustrations for three of Edward Lear’s most popular limericks — An Old Man with a beard, An Old Man in a tree, and An Old Man who said, “Hush!”

If you have other examples (and there are quite a few) in your collections, please add them to this Blog of Bosh.


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