Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Edward Lear - View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, Israel

Price Realized

signed with monogram and dated '1885' (lower right) and inscribed and dated 'Jerusalem. 1858' (lower left)
pencil and watercolour heightened with white, on paper
6¾ x 14½ in. (17.2 x 36.8 cm.)

In 1858 Lear was commissioned to paint a view of Jerusalem at sunset by Lady Waldegrave for whom he also executed a large scale oil painting of Venice. In preparation for this painting Lear explored the surrounding landscape to find the most suitable location from which to base his viewpoint of the great city, climbing 'to the spot Christ must have been on when he "saw the city" - on coming from Bethany' (Letter to his sister Ann, 29 March 1858, in V. Noakes, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer, London, 2004, p. 133) on the Mount of Olives from which could be seen 'the site of the temple & the 2 domes, - and it shews the ravine of the valley of Jehosaphat, over which the city looks...And besides this the sun, at sunset, catches the sides of the larger Eastern buildings, while all the upper part of the city is in shadow; - added to all which there is an unlimited foreground of figs, olives, & pomengranates, not to speak of goats, sheep, & huming beings [sic]' (Letter to Lady Waldegrave, 27.V.58, in V. Noakes, Edward Lear 1812-1888, London, 1985, p. 149).

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