Journals of a Landscape Painter in Albania, &c.LEAR, Edward
London: Richard Bentley. 1851
First edition. 8vo. (255 x155mm) pp. [iv], 428. Frontispiece map of Albania and twenty lithographs by Lear printed by Hullmandel and Walton. Original blue cloth. Spine gilt decorated and with author, title and publisher stamped in gilt. Upper and lower covers blindstamped. Binding is fine but with some minor bumping to extremities. Pale green endpapers although missing the front free end paper. Contents are fine and the plates in excellent condition. A very nice copy.
Due to frequent ill health, Edward Lear spent much of his life in Southern Europe living in Italy from 1837. In 1848, Lear made his first journey to Greece and the Ionian Islands and up into Albania. This was intrepid travelling. He recorded his travels with coloured wash drawings painted over with watercolour. He would then add handwritten notes to the images. This edition describes two journeys to the European parts of the Ottoman Empire. The first journey from September to November 1848, took Lear from Thessaloniki to Albania and then on to the coast of Epirus. The second journey in April to June 1849 was to Epirus and Thessaly. Lear’s wonderful drawings show the full range of life and landscape in this inaccessible part of Europe. There are hints of pastoral calm among the wilder, rougher mountainous scenes. But overall is the sense that Lear is doing his best to unravel what the land of Albania which he describes in his introduction as “a puzzle of the highest order”.