Edward Lear, In the Campagna (1844)


Edward Lear, In the Campagna, Rome.
Signed ‘Edwd Lear’ (lower left) and dated ‘1844’ (lower right). Oil on canvas. 9 ¾ x 18 1/8 in. (24.8 x 46 cm.)

The Roman Campagna was a place that Lear often returned to in the course of his travels having been captivated by ‘the long lines of acqueducts [sic] and tombs on the desolate and beautiful Campagna’ (E. Lear, Letter to his sister Ann, 14 December 1837). On a later visit he wrote that ‘there is a charm about this Campagna when it becomes all purple & gold, which it is difficult to tear one’s self from. Thus-climate & beauty of atmosphere regain their hold on the mind-pen & pencil’ (E. Lear, Letter to Ann, 27 March 1848).

A watercolour by Lear of the same view (including the small settlement to the right) is inscribed and dated ‘Campagna di Roma/Feby 17.1844’. It was in the collection of the banker John Scandrett Harford (1787-1866) and was passed down in his family until 2015 (now with Guy Peppiatt Fine Art).

We are grateful to Briony Llewellyn for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.


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