NATURAL HISTORY OF EDWARD LEAR

Book number: 94635 Product format: Paperback Author: ROBERT MCCRACKEN PECK

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Bibliophile price £10.00
Published price £25


Best known for his nonsense verses such as "The Owl and the Pussycat", Edward Lear was a talented natural history artist at a time when knowledge of the natural world was expanding rapidly following the work of explorers such as Charles Darwin. He published his comic poems under a pseudonym, regarding painting and natural history studies as his real work. A self-taught artist who became instructor to Queen Victoria, Lear started depicting birds as illustrations to limericks, learning artistic techniques from his much older sister Ann, who had a small income from commercial art. Supported by the newly formed Zoological Society, Lear's book on Parrots in 1832 was the first in English to focus on a single family of birds, earning him widespread praise for accuracy and originality. The book's colour plates are spectacular, rivalling the more famous ones by artists such as Audubon in America. Lear's illustrations were popularised by the new invention of lithographic printing which gave his parrot monograph wide circulation and caused a stir among naturalists. As a member of a vibrant British natural history community Lear knew Darwin's illustrator John Gould, and the author speculates that he might have assisted Gould with the creation of Darwin's plates. Another naturalist, Lord Derby, kept a large number of Australian mammals at Knowsley Hall, where Lear was a frequent visitor, and among the mammals he painted there were many from Australia, including a wallaby, possum, and kangaroos. In Lear's later career he travelled to the Mediterranean and middle east and became renowned for his landscapes. This fascinating study covers not only the work of Edward Lear but also artists he influenced such as Beatrix Potter or contemporary natural history painter Elizabeth Butterworth. Foreword by David Attenborough. 225pp, softback, 18.4 x 26cm, more than 200 of Lear's strikingly beautiful illustrations of animals, plants, and landscapes.

Additional product information

ISBN 9780691217239

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