Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem



Edward Lear (1812-1888)
Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

Inscribed lower left: Mount of Olives/4.20 PM 10 April 1867. and numbered 31 lower right
Pen and brown ink and watercolour over traces of pencil
24 by 50.1 cm., 9 1/2 by 19 1/2 in.

Sir Franklin Lushington (1823-1901);
By descent until 1929;
With Craddock and Barnard, Museum St, London, where bought by Alethea Buxton, December 1931;
Private Collection until 2019

In the winter of 1866, Lear set off to visit the Near East, arriving in Egypt in
December. He spent three months travelling through the country before journeying across the desert to Palestine, arriving initially in Gaza before continuing inland to Jerusalem. En route across the desert, he recorded in his diary that 'some things in this world are not pleasant, to wit beetles in your hair, - the odiferous nature of respected domestic fleas; and the gulpy roary groanery of camels'. (Edward Lear diaries, 1858 -
1888, 8pm, 25th March 1867, Houghton Library, Harvard University).
It was Lear's second visit to Palestine and Lear was once more captivated by the beauty of Jerusalem. He initially intended to only spend a few days there, wanting to visit Nazareth and Galilee, which he had not made on his first trip, but the volume of pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, stopped his plans and he remained in Jerusalem. Lear records in his diary for 10th April, that he 'went to Mount of Olives to fix plan for tents:
- & drew the most beautiful view towards the dead sea until 4 or 4.30. Came down slowly towards Siloam'. (Lear, Edward 1812 - 1888, Diary: autograph manuscript, 1867, MS Eng 797.3 (10), Houghton Library, Harvard College Library)Sir Franklin Lushington was a close friend of Lear's and amassed a considerable collection of the artist's work. The two met in Malta in 1849, where Franklin's elder brother Henry was Chief Secretary to the government. In 1855, Franklin was appointed judge to the Supreme Court of Justice in the Ionian Islands, and Lear spent
a great deal of time with him in Corfu. In 1929, Lushington's daughter, Mildred sold the Lears that had descended through the family, through Barnard and Craddock. Some entered the British Museum, whilst others were dispersed on the open market.