September Readings

Edward Lear, Self caricature from a letter to Henry Richards Luard. Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Manuscript Collection MS-2415.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has digitized its Edward Lear collection, which consists mostly of letters: 11 to William Holman Hunt, 2 to Luard and one to his sister Ellen from India, among others.

You can now download Edward Lear’s Indian Journal, edited by Ray Murphy, from

The Art Newspaper has a review of Robert Peck’s The Natural History of Edward Lear: “The parrot point of view: on Edward Lear’s natural history studies.”

One of the delights of Peck’s authoritative and sharp-eyed study is that, while it fleshes out Lear’s early career in unprecedented detail, it also demonstrates how much natural history Lear carried with him into his later work both as a landscape painter and as a writer of nonsense. The Natural History of Edward Lear will immediately become the standard work on Lear’s relationships with Gould, William Jardine, Prideaux John Selby and others, on his role documenting voyages of British colonial exploration, and on his technique and craft as an illustrator and lithographer. But it is also full of aperçus about the animals in his landscapes, about his less familiar botanical drawings, and about the overlap between Lear’s scientific work and his poetry.

Robert says that the book is now out of print, but there might be another edition next spring. The Washington Post also reviews the book.

Blog “Art & Artists” has completed a 21-part biography of Edward Lear with a large number of illustrations: here for Part 1, then you’ll have to use the right-hand bar to move forward.

The Wordsworth Trust page on Edward Lear, with a few pictures he drew in the area in 1836.

John Ashbery died recently at age 90, you may want to read again his cento, The Dong with the Luminous Nose, or Tuesday Evening.

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