Edward Lear, Two views of Venice from the Bacinot.
The first signed with monogram (lower right); the second inscribed and dated ‘Venice. 27. Novr 1865’ (lower left) and further inscribed and numbered ‘27.Novr. (66)’ (lower right) and further inscribed with artist’s notes. Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour, the first heightened with bodycolor. The first 4 x 8 in. (10.2 x 20.3 cm); the second 5 1/4 x 7 5/8 in. (13.4 x 19.4 cm).
Although Lear spent ten years in Italy from 1832 until 1842 [this is incorrect], largely based in Rome, he did not visit Venice until 1857, when, as he wrote to his sister Ann on 23 May 1857, ‘I may as well shock you a good thumping shock at once by saying I don’t care a bit for it. I never wish to see it again’ (V. Noakes, ed., Edward Lear: Selected Letters, Oxford, 1988, p. 147).
However, Lear revisited the city in November 1865 with a commission for an oil painting for Countess Waldegrave (Venice; see V. Noakes, Edward Lear 1812-1828, London, 1985, p. 152, no. 59, ill.), and in a letter to Edward Drummond wrote that, ‘this city of palaces, pigeons, poodles and pumpkins…is a wonder and a pleasure’ (A. Davidson, Edward Lear, 2nd ed., 1950, p. 159). Nevertheless, Lear’s depictions of Venice are relatively few in number.