EDWARD LEAR Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Edward Lear was born in Highgate, 12 May. He was the twentieth child of Jeremiah               
Lear, a London stockbroker, and his wife Ann.                                                 
Four years after his birth, Jeremiah fell a defaulter in the Stock Exchange and               
the family had to abandon the fashionable life to which they were accustomed.                 
Edward's upbringing was entrusted to his sister Ann, twenty-one years his senior,             
and Mrs Lear had nothing more to do with it. Young Edward certainly resented his               
mother's rejection, but found all the love he needed in Ann.                                   
He was first attacked by what he called 'the Demon', epilepsy, when he was five               
or six, and a few years later 'the Morbids', sudden changes of mood with bouts                 
of acute depression, began.                                                                   
His early education was completely left to Ann and Sarah, another sister: beside               
the typical tuition books of the age they read to him classical tales and modern               
poetry (the Romantic poets), and taught him to draw, especially natural subjects.             
Lear's father retires and as he cannot provide for his children, Edward, who                   
still lives with Ann, begins to earn his living as an artist.                                 
Starts work on Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in June.                 
The first two folios are published in November and immediately give him a                     
reputation as an ornithological draughtsman; he is nominated as an Associate of               
the Linnean Society.                                                                           
Lear interrupts the series about the Psittacidae and begins a collaboration with               
John Gould (The Birds of Europe).                                                             
In October he wrote in a letter to Charles Empson also containing a sketch of                 
This is amazingly like; add only - that both my knees are fractured from being                 
run over which has made them very peculiarly crooked - that my neck is                         
singularly long, a most elephantine nose - & a disposition to tumble here &                   
there - owing to being half blind, & you may very well imagine my tout ensemble.               
(Selected Letters, p. 16)                                                                     
1831 or 1832                                                                                   
Visits Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berne, and Berlin with Gould.                                     
Lear starts drawing the animals in the menagerie of Knowsley Hall for Lord                     
Travels to Ireland with Edward Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, and his son Arthur                 
Penrhyn Stanley, July-August. His interst turns to landscape painting.                         
Walking tour in the Lake District, August-October. His eyesight and general                   
health deteriorate.                                                                           
Sets out for Rome travelling via Belgium, Luxenburg, Germany, and Switzerland,                 
July. Reaches Rome, December.                                                                 
Travels to southern Italy, May-August. Earliest oil painting, June.                           
Walking tour towards Florence, May-October.                                                   
Returns to England, spring. Publication of Views in Rome and its environs.                     
Visits Scotland, September. Returns to Rome, December.                                         
Visits Sicily, April-May, and the Abruzzi, July-October.                                       
Returns to the Abruzzi, September-October.                                                     
Meets Chichester Fortescue, April. Returns to England, May.                                   
Publication of Illustrated Excursions in Italy (2 vols.). Publication of first                 
edition of A Book of Nonsense, using the pseudonym Derry Down Derry. Publication               
of Gleanings from the Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall. Gives a series of                 
twelve drawing lessons to Queen Victoria. Returns to Rome, December.                           
Visits Sicily and southern Calabria and witnesses outbursts of revolution, May-October.       
Meets Thomas Baring, later Lord Northbrook, February. The state of Italy becomes               
more unsettled, and Lear leaves Rome, April. Travels via Malta to Corfu and the               
Ionian Islands, April-May. Visits Athens, Marathon, Thermophylae, and Thebes,                 
where he is taken ill, June-July. Arrives in Costantinople, August. Travels                   
across Greece and into Albania, September-December. Returns to Malta, and meets               
Fraanklin Lushington, December.                                                               
Travels to Cairo, Suez, and Sinai, January-February. Returns to Malta, then sets               
out for southern Greece with F. Lushington, March. Travels in the Morea and                   
visits Janina, Vale of Tempe, and Mount Olympus, March-July. Returns to England,               
July. Attends Sass's School of Art to prepare drawings for entrance to the Royal               
Academy Schools, November-December.                                                           
Accepted as a probationer, January, and as a full student, April. First picture               
accepted by the Royal Academy. By November he is working on his own again.                     
Publication of Journals of a Landscape Painter in Albania, & c. Meets Alfred and               
Emely Tennyson.                                                                               
Introduced to Holman Hunt, who offers to teach him his own methods of painting,               
early summer. Lives with Hunt at Clive Vale, Hastings, and meets other members                 
of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, July-December. He begins to gain confidence                 
in oil painting, and conceives the plan of illustrating Tennyson's poems.                     
Publication of Journals of a Landscape Painter in Southern Calabria.                           
Publication of the first of his musical settings of Tennyson's poems. Unable to               
cope any longer with the damp Englsh weather, he leaves to spend the winter in                 
Egypt, December.                                                                               
Travels up the Nile as far as the first cataract, January-March. Returns to                   
England, then visits Switzerland, August-October.                                             
Publication of the second edition of A Book of Nonsense. Accompanies Lushington               
to Corfu for the winter. Spending most of his time alone, he becomes lonely and               
Employs Giorgio Cocali, April. Travels via Albania and Greece to Mount Athos and               
Troy, August-October.                                                                         
Visits Albania, April. Returns to London for the summer, May, and to Corfu for                 
the winter, November.                                                                         
Travels to Bethlehem, hebron, Petra, the Dead SEa, Jerusalem and Lebanon, March-June.         
Returns to England, August. Decides to winter in Rome.                                         
Returns to England in May, and spends most of the summer at St Leonards. Returns               
to Rome, December.                                                                             
To England, May. Begins work on large oil paintings of the Cedars of Lebanon and               
Masada at Oatlands Park Hotel, October.                                                       
His sister Ann becomes ill, and dies 11 March. Visits Florence, May-August.                   
Cedars of Lebanon exhibited in Liverpool and receives favourable reviews,                     
September. Returns to winter again in Corfu, November. Publication of third                   
edition of A Book of Nonsense under his own name, December.                                   
Cedars of Lebanon exhibited in the Great International Exhibition, March, but                 
hung very high and not well received. Returns to England, May. leaves England                 
for Corfu, November. Despite the increasing sales of the last ten years, he now               
realizes that his chances of becoming established are diminishing, and he works               
on his first group of Tyrants.                                                                 
Visits the other Ionian Islands, April-May. Returns to England, June.                         
Publication of Views in the Seven Ionian Islands, December.                                   
Returns to Corfu, January. The island is ceded to the Greeks and he leaves for                 
Athens and Crete, April. In London, June-November. Decides to winter in southern               
France and leaves England. Finds rooms in Nice, November.                                     
Writes the first of his Nonsense stories, The History of the Seven Families of                 
the Lake Pipple-Popple, February.. Returns to England, April. Lady Waldergrave                 
commissions a painting of Venice, and he travels there, November. Decides to                   
winter in Malta, December.                                                                     
Returns to England, April. contemplates proposing marriage to Gussie Bethell,                 
November. To Egypt, and travels down the Nile as far as Wadi Halfa, December-March.           
Visits Gaza and Jerusalem, then returns to England via Ravenna, June. Leaves to               
winter in Cannes, November. Writes the first of his Nonsense songs, The Owl and               
the Pussycat, December. The Cedars of Lebanon sold to Louisa, Lady Ashburton for               
200, less than a third of its original price.                                                 
Travels in Corsica, May-June, then returns to England until December. Leaves for               
Cannes, December.                                                                             
In Paris, working on plates for his book on Corsica, June-July. In London until               
December, when he returns to Cannes. Journal of a Landscape Painter in Corsica,               
the last of his travel books, published December.                                             
Decides to settle, and buys land in San Remo, March. Summer in Certosa del Pesio.             
Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets published, December.                             
Moves into Villa Emily, March. More Nonsense published, December.                             
Spends the summer in England, June-October. Sets out for India, but turns back                 
at Suez, October. Foss the cat arrives, November.                                             
Leaves for India, October. Arrives Bombay, November.                                           
Travels in India and Ceylon.                                                                   
Leaves India, January. Summer in England, June-September.                                     
His last Nonsense book, Laughable Lyrics, published December.                                 
England, May-September. Brief visit to Corfu to see Giorgio who is ill,                       
Summer, Monte Generoso, Switzerland. The land below his house is cleared for                   
building, October.                                                                             
Lady Waldergrave dies, July. Summer, Monte Generoso.                                           
Buy new land for building, February. Last visit to England, April-August; Varese,             
Monte Generoso, September-October.                                                             
Summer on Monte Generoso. Moves into Villa Tennyson, October.                                 
Summer in Monte Generoso.                                                                     
Summer in Monte Generoso. Giorgio Cocali dies, August.                                         
Villa Emily sold, February. Summer in Recoaro.                                                 
Summer in Brianza.                                                                             
Spends some weeks in bed with bronchitis, January-April. John Ruskin places him               
at the head of his list of favourite authors in the Pall Mall Gazette, February.               
Makes his final repayment of debt for building Villa Tennyson, March.                         
Abandons Tennyson-illustrations project as a failure. Foss dies, November.                     
Dies in San Remo, 29 January.