Mount Timohorit, Albania by Edward Lear, 1812-1888. Signed with monogram. Oil on canvas, 48 x 73 inches. Lear appended the following lines from Tennyson to this painting:
Tomohrit, Athos, all things fair
With such a pencil, such a pen
You shadow forth to distant men
I read and felt that I was there
Edward Lear first visited Corfu and the Ionian islands in 1848. From Corfu, the Albanian Coast — known to the Greeks as Northern Epirus — dominates the distant seascape and Lear did many watercolours of the view across to these majestic mountains: He visited Albania and climbed the summit and wrote in his journal: 'how glorious in spite of the dimming sirocco haze, was the view from the summit, as my eyes wandered over the perspective of winding valley and stream to the farthest edge of the horizon — a scene realising the fondest fancies of artist (sic) imagination'.
Lear greatly admired Tennyson and after their meeting in 1849 a strong friendship developed. When Lear was in England he never failed to visit the poet and his wife Emily. Before meeting with the poet, Lear conceived the project of illustrating Tennyson's poems. This task occupied him on and off during the remainder of his life.
The sketches made in Epirus were used for this oil and the artist sought to achieve a monumental work which combined the grandeur of the scene and the epic quality of Tennyson's poem. [The Rediscovery of Greece]
The Rediscovery of Greece: Travellers and Romantics in the 19th centuryr. London: The Fine Art Society, 1979. No. 121.
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Last modified 1 August 2001