Edward Lear, The Bingemma Valley, Malta.
Watercolour heightened with bodycolour; signed with the artist’s monogram lower left. 102 by 202 mm.
With The Fine Art Society, 1988
London, The Fine Art Society, A Centenary Exhibition, 1988
In this watercolour Edward Lear looks north into the wooded valley of Bingemma, which is located in north-western Malta. Beyond, sunlit plains stretch away to the Mediterranean Sea, while to the left the 17th Century Kappella Bingemma stands precariously on its rocky out-crop. Dotted throughout the cliffs, are a series of enigmatic caves which are thought to have been dug out in pre-historic Phoenician times for the storage of food and materials.
Lear first visited Malta in 1848 and between then and 1866 he returned a further five times. He certainly explored the landscape of the present watercolour in 1854, as a drawing of the chapel and the surrounding valley survives in a private collection.