Edward Lear: An Unpublished Letter

A “signed two-page letter” by Edward Lear is being sold on eBay; it is pasted to the front end paper of the first American edition of the Nonsense Books (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1888).


It is an invitation to Mr. and Mrs. C. Perkins to go and see Lear’s Palestine sketches. It was written in the winter 1858-1859, when Lear was in Rome: his diary shows that he regularly saw C. Perkins from 29 December 1858 to 24 April 1859. Perkins visited the studio with his wife on 22 January and again, with other men, on 16 March 1859, and the letter was probably sent in January.



The text reads:

9 4 Piano V. Condotti.

My dear Sir,

I should ^[had I been able] have called earlier to say what I write in this note, – viz. – that whenever you and Mrs. Perkins will do me the pleasure of calling any morning before 2. P.M. – I shall be most glad to shew you & her – or any of your friends my sketches in Palestine as well as some small paintings. Up till just now, I have not had any accomodation fit to ask Ladies to, in my rooms.

Believe me,
Dear Sir,
Your’s very truly,
Edward Lear.

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