Edward Lear, Cannes (1882)


Edward Lear, A view of Cannes
Signed with monogram and dated ‘1882’ (lower right) and inscribed ‘Cannes’ (lower left). Watercolour and gum arabic. 16.5 x 26cm (6 1/2 x 10 1/4in).

Sold together with a letter from the artist.


The present lot is sold together with a letter written by Lear from his Villa in San Remo and dated 8 November 1883. The letter is headed Villa Tennyson, named after Lear’s dear friend Emily Tennyson, the wife of Alfred Lord Tennyson. The letter is addressed to the Rev. Carus Selwyn, Headmaster of Liverpool College and a good friend. In it Lear congratulates Rev. Selwyn on his recent engagement commenting that ‘she must be a thundering nice girl’. Lear concludes his letter in a typically nonsensical and lyrical tone ‘I must stop, as the old watch said when the Beetle got inside its wheels[…]/Yours affectionately/Edward Lear’

Lear visited Cannes on a number of occasions from where he made expeditions into the hills; he and his servant Giorgio would leave Cannes early in the morning, and he would spend the day drawing and taking notes. The present lot is a beautiful example of Lear’s powers not just as a watercolourist and draughtsman but also his ability to convey the sweeping grandeur and brilliant colours of the Mediterranean landscape.


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