Edward Lear, Hackwood Park, Hampshire.
Signed Edward Lear del. lower right; inscribed and dated Hackwood. July 9 1865 lower left. Pen and brown ink. 18.7 by 36.4cm. 7 by 15½in. Framed: 21.5 by 39cm., 8¾ by 15½in.
Probably Richard Bethell, 1st Baron Westbury (1800–1873) or his daughter the Hon. Augusta Bethell, later Mrs Parker (1839-1931)
By family descent to the present owner
This fine ‘on-the-spot’ drawing depicts woodland at the ancestral home of the Powlett family: Hackwood Park. At the time of Lear’s visit, in July 1865, the house was let to one of Lear’s patrons, Richard, 1st Baron Westbury (1800-1873), the Lord Chancellor.
Lear is known to have been very fond of Lord Westbury’s daughter, Augusta, who was probably the first owner of this drawing. Lear described her as ‘dear Gussie’ and recorded in his diary that she was ‘absolutely good, sweet and delightful.’1 Unusually for a drawing of this type, Lear has signed the work in full. This may indicate that he presented the drawing to his friend as a gift.
1. V. Noakes, Edward Lear, A Life of a Wanderer, London 1968, p. 177