LEAR, Edward
(b. 1812, London, d. 1888, San Remo)


English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet. He is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; making coloured drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; as a (minor) illustrator of Alfred Tennyson's poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, botanical drawings, recipes, and alphabets. He also composed and published twelve musical settings of Tennyson's poetry.

A peripatetic traveller his whole life, Lear was captivated by Italy in his mid-twenties and spent a great deal of time there over many years. He would later make Italy his home towards the end of his life.

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