No nonsense: $131,200 Lear art is likely to 'sail away' with the plaudits

As well as being a much-loved poet, Edward Lear (1812-1888) was also a prolific artist. 

The 19th Century Paintings auction at Bonhams, London on July 13 features a topographical scene of Bethlehem which Lear completed from sketches he made while travelling in the Middle East. 

Investors can get their hands on the piece for an estimated £50,000-80,000.

In 1858, Lear spent three months touring Jerusalem, Petra, Bethlehem, Hebron and Lebanon, after receiving a commission from Lady Waldegrave for two works including a view of Jerusalem. 

The preliminary sketches he made during his travels were later employed in a number of oil paintings. It is believed that this work was commissioned by Leonard Rowe Valpy, a noted collector of contemporary painting.

Lear’s vision of Bethlehem has a low end estimate of £50,000

"We are delighted to offer for auction this rare Lear view of Bethlehem, a place of huge religious and historical significance, and the artist's only major oil of the subject," said Charles O'Brien, the head of 19th Century Pictures at Bonhams.

A gibberish letter from Lear featuring a miniature picture of a dog sold for £2,160 at Bonhams earlier this year.


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