Edward Lear, Damascus (1858)

Edward Lear, Damascus.
Inscribed, dated and numbered ‘Damascus. 28 May 1858. (217)’ (lower right); annotated throughout. Pen, ink and watercolour over traces of pencil. 19.4 x 55.2cm (7 5/8 x 21 3/4in).

Craddock & Barnard, London.
Private collection, UK.

Having visited Jerusalem in the Spring of 1858, Lear set off for the Lebanon, travelling by boat from Jaffa, arriving in Beirut on the 11th May, and moving inland. Lear found the landscape too similar to Greece and Albania, although his opinion of Damascus was more positive, writing to Lady Waldegrave ‘imagine 16 worlds full of gardens rolled out flat, with a river and a glittering city in the middle’.1

1 Edward Lear, letter to Lady Waldegrave, quoted in Vivien Noakes, Edward Lear, The life of a Wanderer, London, 1968, p. 164.


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