The journals Edward Lear kept before 1858 are lost. Though we know that in 1885 he still had “60 volumes of Diaries” (letter to Fortescue, 30 April 1885, Selected Letters, p. 269), these were destroyed or distributed among Lear’s friends by his executor, Franklin Lushington. He probably gave the 1848 journal to Charles M. Church, who had travelled in Greece with Lear in that year, and between 1907 and 1915 Church prepared a memoir of his experiences of the journey:
“WITH EDWARD LEAR IN GREECE: Being recollections of travel in Hellenic lands two generations ago, with extracts from his Journals and Letters, and illustrated by his sketches”.
Church, as the title suggests, had probably also been given the sketches Lear made at the time. Unfortunately the book was never published, and only a (later) typescript remains in the Westminster School Archive, London. The drawings have also been dispersed.
Now Rowena Fowler has edited part of the text, including all the Lear entries that Church reproduced, and identified several of the drawings. The result is published on a dedicated website maintained by the Wesmister School which provides a fitting conclusion to the bicentennial celebrations of last year and an important addition to my transcription project.
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