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Edward Lear (1812-1888)


Twice inscribed with title and dated '3pm 14 Oct 1870'
Also inscribed 'clay', 'dark brown & green', 'faint', 'sea' and 'shade'

Pen ink and watercolour with pencil

12 ¼ x 18 ¾ inches

Thomas Agnew & Sons, London

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', Chris Beetles Gallery, 2019, No 42

During the autumn of 1870, Edward Lear became impatient with the delay on the completion of his new house in San Remo, on the Ligurian coast of the newly unified Italy. He considered going away, to America or elsewhere, but instead made sketching trips in the surrounding area, and also found diversion in the company of his friends, the Congreves. One of the trips that Lear made was to Ceriana, a village to the north of San Remo, for at least three days from 13 to 15 October. The present drawing was made on 14 October, on the road between Ceriana and village of Bussana, which can be seen to the far left. Seventeen years later, in 1887, Bussana was hit by a severe earthquake, which killed more than 2,000 people. The surviving population abandoned the village, which became known as Bussana Vecchia, and moved to the new coastal settlement of Bussana Nuova. Bussana Vecchia remained a ghost town until the late 1940s, when immigrants from southern Italy settled there illegally. In the early 1960s, it became home to a community of artists.

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