Edward Lear (1812-88) was one of the most original and inspired artists of the Victorian age. Although best known as a writer of nonsense verse, Lear was first and foremost an artist. He was a superb draughtsman and painter of ornithology and landscapes.
An adventurous traveller, Lear regularly visited the Mediterranean and the Near East. He had a particular passion for the landscape and culture of Greece.
This exhibition comprises an outstanding group of watercolours of mainland Greece, Crete and the Ionian islands, from the collection of the distinguished historian Sir Steven Runciman. These stunning works were allocated to the Scottish National Gallery in 2003 by HM Government through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. They include beautiful views of Athens, Mount Athos, Corfu, Sparta, Zante, Ithaca and Marathon, painted between 1848 and 1864.
The watercolours on show have been the focus of a major conservation project and are being shown fully restored for the first time.
Image: Edward Lear Potamus, Corfu (detail) Scottish National Gallery Accepted by H.M. Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the Scottish National Gallery in 2003