Large folio handcolored swan lithograph by Edward Lear (del. et lithog.). Printed by C, Hullmandel. Domestic Swan, plate 354. From John Gould's The Birds of Europe, 1832-37. Excellent condition, handsomely mounted and framed. Purchased from W. Graham Arader circa 1980. Frame is 29 x 22.25; image is 20.25 x 13.75. Edward Lear,one of the greatest ornithological artists of his era, was a self-taught naturalist and painter who later became famous as a writer of nonsense and limericks. Lear?s exacting and masterly skill as an artist was employed by many major publishers of 19th century English ornithologies and natural histories. Born outside London in 1812, Lear was the 20th child of Jeremiah Lear, a London stockbroker. In 1816, Jeremiah went bankrupt, and Edward was raised primarily by his elder sister, Ann, who provided classical studies and taught him to draw from nature. At age 14, Lear began his career as an artist. About 1828, Lear began work as a zoological draughtsman, working with, among other notables, Prideaux John Selby. It was there he also met John Gould, the Society?s taxidermist, who became one of the great 19th century naturalist publishers. Lear drew 68 plates and many of the foregrounds for Gould?s Birds of Europe (1832-1837).
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