Edward Lear (1812-1888)
Val Montone, Italy
Inscribed and dated l.l.: Val Montone-17 Oct.br 1840., inscribed with artist’s notes, graphite
26 x 39.7 cm; 10 1/4 x 15 5/8 inches
Sir Robin Darwin, R.A.;
Spink, where bought by the present owner;
Private collection, U.K.
Royal Academy, London, Edward Lear 1812-1888, 1985, no. 15i, ill p. 92
Lear went to Italy in the summer of 1837. For most of the next ten years the artist wintered in Rome and toured other parts of Italy during the summer. He spent the winter months in and around Rome making frequent visits to the Campagna. He wrote in a letter to his sister Ann that Val Montone was: one of the most elegant campagna towns and very curious: it is in a deep dell in the Latin valley- but rises on a mound- crowned with a superb church and castle-though the town itself is wretchedly poor…Fine trees are all around Val Montone- and it is altogether a delightfully quiet place (recorded in the 1930s typescript of the lost manuscript of Lear’s letters to Ann, 11 October 1838).
Another view of Val Montone is included in Views in Rome and its Environs, 1841, plate 25.
Sir Robert Vere ‘Robin' Darwin KCB CBE RA RSA PRWA NEAC (1910 – 1974) was a British artist and Rector of the Royal College of Art. He was the son of the golf writer Bernard Darwin and his wife the engraver Elinor Monsell and a great-grandson of the naturalist Charles Darwin.