Yale’s Edward Lear Archive

Edward Lear, Nice from the Genoa Road (1865). Yale Center for British Art.

Stephen Duckworth informs me of an interesting archive at Yale:

The Yale Center for British Art has long been known for having the second largest collection of Lear drawings in the world, after the Houghton Library at Harvard. Most of these, and some oil paintings, came as a gift from an American, Donald Gallup, who had acquired them cheaply in London after the Second World War. The YCBA website provides good images and description of all these works.
What is probably less well known is the Center’s Edward Lear Archive. It contains some ten Lear letters to Ann Lear and others. It also contains many lists of drawings in Lear’s own hand and also in the writing of his executor Franklin Lushington which have recently come to light and been catalogued.


The site does not reproduce these. It paraphrases the letters, and gives basic information on the contents of each drawings list. The hope I am told is to digitise these in due course. For researchers on Lear’s journeys, the material is invaluable as numbered drawings are listed for fifteen of Lear’s main journeys. I was able to fully use an 1856 Mount Athos list for my website.
There are further lists by Lear of watercolours and oils he had retained and was still selling in the 1880s, almost up to his death in 1888. The Lushington lists were clearly made from the stocks of drawings Lear sent to him in that decade and left to him on his death. These will be the many Lear drawings which came on to the market in 1929 when Lushington’s daughter disposed of them to the dealer, Craddock and Barnard.
Stephen Duckworth

You can also download a “Guide to the Edward Lear Archive,” MSS 59.

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