Edward Lear, Five views in County Wicklow: The Great and Little Sugarloafs; The Great and Little Sugarloafs, from The Scalp; Figures beside trees, probably in the Powerscourt Demesne; Loch Tay looking north; and Bray, with the Little Sugarloaf in the distance.
The first signed and inscribed ‘Sugar Loaf/ ELear’ (lower centre and left). Pencil, some heightened with white, on grey paper. 4 ¼ x 6 ½ in. (10.8 x 16 ½ cm.); and smaller (5).
i) Robert A. Hornby.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London 18 March 1982, lot 9 (part).
ii, iii, iv and v) Mary F. Shaw.
with Agnew’s, London, 1989, where purchased by
iv) Mary F. Shaw.
with Agnew’s, London, 1989
Grasmere, The Wordsworth Museum, Lear the Landscape Artist: tours of Ireland and the English Lakes 1835 and 1836, 2nd July – 4th October 2009, no’s 20, 21, 22, 23 and 26.
Lear went to Ireland in 1835 with his friend Arthur Stanley (later Dean of Westminster), as well as Stanley’s brother, father and uncle, for the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) in Dublin from 10 to 15 August. When the meeting finished, part of the group set off to walk through Wicklow, and Lear made a sketchbook of drawings, of which this and the following lot are the largest group known to remain. Arthur Stanley’s diaries were later published, and give some idea of how the journey might have looked.
The first three of these drawings were probably taken in or near Lord Powerscourt’s deerpark. The view of Loch Tay shows the rocky scarp of Luggala on the left. The view of Bray is an important record of the appearance of the town before the arrival of the railway in 1854. Taken from outside the Market House on market day, it must date from either Saturday 22 or Tuesday 25 August, on Lear’s return journey to Dublin.
The view up Bray Main street is taken from the north end of the town. The old Market House was demolished shortly after Lear visited in 1835, replaced by a building looking very similar to that depicted here, now functioning as Bray Heritage Centre. Lear faced south with the bridge over the River Dargle behind him. The view of the little Sugar Loaf looks much the same, and several of the buildings seen in this picture remain, 185 years later. The traffic situation, however, has changed markedly.