Edward Lear, Mdina or Citta Vecchia, Malta.
Inscribed, dated and numbered ‘Citta Vecchia./Malta/January 28. 1866./ 11-12 AM./ (34)’ (lower right) and variously inscribed with colour notes. Pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour on buff paper 13 x 20½ in. (33 x 52 cm.)
Lear spent four months from December 1865 – April 1866 in Malta. He had visited the island previously, briefly in 1842, on his way to Greece from Italy and then again en route to Corfu in 1862 and had thoroughly enjoyed the island. This third trip however, was less successful; although the weather was good and he produced many accomplished sketches, most of his previous aquaintances were absent and he was concerned about his sister Ellen’s health.
The ancient city of Mdina or Citta Vecchia was the capital of Malta until 1530. Situated on one of the highest points of the island, it dominates its surroundings.
The Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti has just published my article, “Edward Lear in Malta: New Revelations,” in the Christmas 2013 issue of Treasures of Malta. In the spring they will publish my monograph, Edward Lear in Malta, and in the fall mount an exhibition of the same name in Palazzo Falson, Mdina.