Edward Lear, “The little dog laughed to see such sport.”
Pen and brown ink on laid paper watermarked with Britannia. 16.2 by 20.3 cm., 6 1/4 by 8 in.
With Gooden and Fox, London (pre-1973);
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)
Lear is working on an illustration to the nursery rhyme `Hey Diddle Diddle’ in the
`Hey, diddle, diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon; The
little dog laughed To see such sport…’ Lear illustrated this, as well as other well known traditional nursery rhymes, like ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’ and ‘Goosy Goosy Gander’.
The present drawing is typical of the sort of drawing that Lear would produce to illustrate his own and other’s nursery rhymes and nonsense poems, characterised by a rapid pen line and simplified forms, often with exaggerated features. Lear was an accomplished poet who was passionate about the play of words and sounds and took great pleasure in inventing nonsense poems and limericks. It was apparently whilst staying with the 14th Earl of Derby at Knowsley between 1832 and 1837 that Lear began to make up nonsense rhymes and stories, accompanied by amusing cartoons and caricatures for the Earl’s grandchildren.
This drawing belonged to Yehudi Menuhin. His wife, Diana, was a fan of Edward Lear and the family chalet in Gstaad was named ‘Chankley Bore’ a reference to his poem, The Jumblies.
Guy Peppiatt Fine Art, British Drawings and Watercolours: 2019, auction catalogue.