Edward Lear, An Arab Encampment at Wady Feiran.
Signed with the monogram and dated 1869 lower right; inscribed Wady Feiran lower left.
Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour and gum arabic on paper, 17.5 by 37cm., 7 by 14½in.
This highly finished studio work depicts travellers and their camels resting at Wady Feiran; a river running to the east of the Gulf of Suez. Visible in the distance are the dramatic mountains of Sinai. The watercolour is based on studies executed by Lear during his trip to Egypt and Palestine in late 1866 and early 1867. Lear started these travels with Archie Jones, his Canadian cousin, whom he had met in Luxor. Together they journeyed to Esnah, Edfu and as far as Philae, before parting company. Lear continued on, with his man-servant Giorgio, to Sakkara and Memphis before turning his thoughts to Palestine. Lear planned to cross the desert to Gaza and go inland to Jerusalem before travelling north to Galilee. On 22 March 1867 he left Cairo and by April he had reached Jerusalem. However, soon after he arrived he fell ill and this, together with the number of pilgrims approaching Jerusalem for Easter, prevented him from travelling further north. By the 20 April he was back in Alexandria before travelling by boat to Brindisi.