Edward Lear, Figures on Road, Tivoli Beyond (1839)



Edward Lear, Figures on the Road, Tivoli Beyond.
Pencil, heightened with white and touches of brown wash, on grey paper; signed lower right: Edward Lear / 1839; and inscribed lower left: Tivoli. 240 by 340 mm.

In a letter to his sister Ann, Lear describes the landscape at Tivoli with rapture and reveals ‘all the rich ancients had villas there. You now pass a vast tract of ruins – Cypresses etc., towers etc…Then you commence a long pull up to the town through the most beautiful olive wood! – such trees! – and every now and then you see bits of the ancient villas – all that is left of once vast buildings – now only a few arches with the curious Roman brick-work – covered with large aloes – or roofs of olives.’1
Lear was so enthralled by the beauty of Tivoli that, after his first visit in 1838, he returned there many times and there are two different views of the town in his Views in Rome and its Environs, 1841, plates 23 and 24.
1. V. Noakes, Edward Lear Selected Letters, 1988, p. 42


Also: View of Tivoli, Tivoli (1839), Villa d’Este, Tivoli (1840).

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