Edward Lear, Monte Generoso (1878)

Edward Lear, Monte Generoso.
Pen and brown ink and watercolour over pencil; inscribed both in pen and brown ink and pencil lower left: Monte Generoso / July 24. 1878 / 5 pm / & Aug 5 5.30. Aug 7. – 4.5 PM, further inscribed with the artist’s colour notes. 372 by 494 mm.

Roger Pachman Hinks;
Peter Powell;
sale, London, Sotheby’s, 16 July 1981, lot 130;
with The Fine Art Society, London, 1987

London, The Fine Art Society, The Travels of Edward Lear, 1983, no. 19;
London, Royal Academy, Edward Lear 1812-1888, 1985, no. 36

V. Noakes, Edward Lear 1812-1888, London 1985, p. 122, p. 36

Monte Generoso is situated on the Italian-Swiss border to the west of Lake Como. Lear visited there for the first time in 1878 and was often to return during the summer months. He found the mountain scenery to be inspirational, and in a letter to his nephew he wrote that ‘the views near the hotel…are wonderful. There is one point from which you may (perhaps) see all the plains and lakes of Italy, besides the rivers Jordan, Mississippi & Amazon, the whole course of the Nile, – as well as the cities of Pekin, St. Petersburg & Copenhagen, not to speak of the straits of Jamaica & Joppa with the adjacent islands of Cappadocia, Ceylon and Islington.’1
Lear started work on the present work on 24th July, but the weather turned and the mountains were obscured by clouds. He returned twice more, on the 5th and 7th August, to finish.
1. V. Noakes, op. cit., p. 122, p. 36


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