Edward Lear, Mahatta, Nubia



Edward Lear, Mahatta, Nubia.
Signed with monogram (lower left) and with inscription ‘No 2/Mahatta. Nubia’ (on the verso). Pencil and watercolour heightened with touches of white. 7? x 15 in. (18.1 x 38.1 cm.)

The present highly finished watercolour, would have been executed following Lear’s third visit to Egypt in 1866-7 and would have been carefully worked up from the rapid on the spot sketches the artist created.

During this trip he ventured further south than previously, travelling through Nubia (now part of Southern Egypt) as far as the second cataract. The landscape of Nubia fascinated Lear, who wrote to Lady Waldegrave, ‘Nubia delighted me, it isn’t a bit like Egypt except that there’s a river in both. Sad, stern, uncompromising landscape, dark ashy purple lines of hills, piles of granite rocks, fringes of palm, and ever and anon astonishing ruins of oldest temples’ (Lady Strachey, ed., Later Letters of Edward Lear, London, 1911, p. 83).


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