Edward Lear, Two Paintings of the Roman Campagna, 1842

Edward Lear, The Tomb of Cecilia Metella on the Via Appia, Rome.

Edward Lear, The Tor di Schiavi on the Via Labicana, Rome.

The former signed l.l.: 1842 / Ed Lear the latter signed l.r.:E.Lear.1842. A pair, both oil on canvas. Each 23 by 44 cm., 9 by 17½ in.

Painted for Captain and Miss Phipps Hornby of Shooters Hill, Kent;
Miss Edith Jones, and thence by descent until sold, Sotheby’s, 29th October 1986, lots 308 and 309

The tomb of Cecilia Metella was built circa 50 BC.  Cecilia Metella was the daughter of a Roman Consul, Creticus.  She married the son of Crassus, a member of the first Roman Triumvirate and one of the richest men in Rome in the first century BC, but little more is know about her.  The Via Labicana is an ancient road running south east from Rome.

Lear travelled to Italy in 1837 and, with the exception of two visits to England in 1841 and 1845-6, he stayed there for the next ten years.  He was part of an international community of artists, and he maintained his financial independence by teaching drawing, selling his pictures, and writing two illustrated books on Italy.


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1 Response to Edward Lear, Two Paintings of the Roman Campagna, 1842

  1. Ron says:

    “There is a stern round tower of other days,
    ⁠Firm as a fortress, with its fence of stone,
    ⁠Such as an army’s baffled strength delays,
    ⁠Standing with half its battlements alone,
    ⁠And with two thousand years of ivy grown,
    ⁠The garland of Eternity, where wave
    ⁠The green leaves over all by Time o’erthrown;—
    ⁠What was this tower of strength? within its cave
    What treasure lay so locked, so hid?—A woman’s grave.

    But who was she, the Lady of the dead,
    ⁠Tombed in a palace? Was she chaste and fair?
    ⁠Worthy a king’s—or more—a Roman’s bed?
    ⁠What race of Chiefs and Heroes did she bear?
    ⁠What daughter of her beauties was the heir?
    ⁠How lived—how loved—how died she? Was she not
    ⁠So honoured—and conspicuously there,
    ⁠Where meaner relics must not dare to rot,
    Placed to commemorate a more than mortal lot?”

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