Edward Lear, Porto Tre Scoglie (1862)


Edward Lear, Porto Tre Scoglie, Albania.
Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour; signed with the artist’s monogram and dated lower left: 1862. 170 by 360 mm.

Few foreigners visited Albania in the mid nineteenth century and Lear, who ventured there in 1848 with only his servant, Giorgio, described it as ‘a new world [which] charmed the eye.’ He was delighted by the wild, dramatic landscape and wrote of ‘a profusion everywhere of the most magnificent foliage recalling the greenness of our own island – clustering plane and chestnut, growth abundant of forest oak and beech, and dark tracts of pine. You have majestic cliff shores; castle-crowned heights, and gloomy fortresses; palaces glittering with gilding and paint; mountain passes such as you encounter in the snowy regions of Switzerland; deep bays and blue seas with bright, calm isles resting on the horizon; meadows and grassy knolls; convents and villages; olive-clothed slopes and snow-capped mountain peaks – and with all this a crowded variety of costume and pictorial incident such as bewilders and delights an artist at each step he takes.’1
1. S. Hayman, Edward Lear in the Levant, Travels in Albania, Greece and Turkey in Europe, 1848-1849, London 1988, p. 72


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