Edward Lear, View of Deir Kadige, on the Nile, Egypt.
Signed with monogram and dated ‘.1884’ (lower right) and inscribed and dated ‘Deir Kadige. 1867′ (lower right) and numbered and inscribed ’67. Deir Kadige’ (verso). Pencil and watercolour. 3 ¾ x 7 ¼ in. (9.5 x 18.5 cm.).
Lear visited Egypt four times, firstly in 1848, then again in 1853 and 1854. The present watercolour dates to his final trip which was from the winter of 1866 to the spring of 1867. Lear often executed ‘on the spot’ sketches complete with colour notes that were then revisited years later and worked into more finished watercolours such as the present view, hence the second date of 1884. Another view of Deir Kadige by Lear is in the National Maritime Museum.
Lear met Thomas Baring, later the Earl of Northbrook, in February 1848, and described him as ‘an extremely luminous & amiable brick, & I like him very much…& I suppose he likes me or he wouldn’t take the trouble of knocking me up as he does considering the lot of people he might take to instead’ (Letter to Chichester Fortescue, 12 February 1848, in V. Noakes, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer, London, 2006, p. 71). They became close friends and when Northbrook became Viceroy of India in 1871, Lear was invited to stay and spent over a year travelling through the country and staying in Vice-Regal houses.