Edward Lear is known to many people as a creator of limericks and nonsense verses, and the author of The Owl and the Pussycat. But in his lifetime, Lear was best known as an artist, firstly as an illustrator of wildlife and later as a landscape painter.
Almost entirely self-taught, he showed masterly technique, and pioneered the use of lithographic reproduction, a groundbreaking development which remained the benchmark for this art form until the advent of photography.
Among the prints exhibited in WLT gallery in January and February 2013 were engravings produced by Lear for Jardine’s Naturalists’ Library in the early 19th century. These little engravings lack the grandeur of the folio-sized lithographs, but they have great charm and are becoming increasingly popular now that larger works are beyond the reach of many collectors of bird art. Prints on display during the Lear and his Contemporaries exhibition are still available for sale; prices start at £40.
World Land Trust is running a limerick competition alongside the Lear and his Contemporaries exhibition. The closing date for entries is noon on 5 April 2013 (BST).