Edward Lear, Ithaca (1863)

Ithaca, Ionian Islands. Inscribed and dated l.l.: Ithaca/ 30. April. 9.30.A.M. 1863/ Valley of Elaupio/ OE…, numbered l.r.: 101, further inscribed with notes. Pen and brown ink and watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour.

In 1863, the date of the present work, Lear was 51 years old. Between 1862 and early 1864 he had largely divided his time between Corfu and England. However, from April to May he conducted a brief tour of the other Ionian islands. Ithaca lies to the north-east of Kefalonia and Lear described it as ‘Ulysses’ Kingdom’. He was clearly inspired by the island for in letter to Ann, his wife, he wrote: ‘[Ithaca] is a little island and charmingly quiet. I delight in it,’ (see Angus Davidson, Edward Lear, 1968, p.50).

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