The Pass of Bavella, Corsica
signed with the artist's monogram EL lower left
watercolour and pen and brown ink, heightened with white on blue paper
30 by 46.6cm., 11¾ by 18½ in.
framed: 51 by 67.5cm., 20 by 26½in.
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Please note, Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is no applicable to this lot
Lear has used a large sheet of blue paper for this impressive work. The sheet (save for the extreme edges) has lost its blue colour and now appears a tanned bluff-colour. There are a small number of foxmarks and blue/black spots that appear periodicly throughout the sheet. The work is laid down.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Probably Richard Bethell, 1st Baron Westbury (1800–1873) or his daughter the Hon. Augusta Bethell, later Mrs Parker (1839-1931)
By family descent to the present owner
This large-scale watercolour shows the magnificent forested mountains of Bavella in Corsica. Lear travelled to the island from Cannes on mainland France on the 8 April. He was to spend just under a month there and he was much taken by the landscapes. He was particularly impressed by Bavella, about which he wrote: ‘The colour here is more beautiful than in most mountain passes I have seen, owing to the great variety of underwood foliage and the thick clothing of herbs; forms, too, of granite rocks seem to me more individually interesting than those of other formations; and the singular grace and beauty of the pine-trees has a peculiar charm – their tall stems apparently so slender, and so delicate the proportions of the tuft of foliage crowning them. The whole of this profound gorge, at the very edge of which the road runs, is full of mountain scenes of the utmost splendor, and would furnish pictures by the score to a painter who could remain for a lengthened sojourn.’1
1. Edward Lear, Journal of a Landscape Painter in Corsica, London, 1870, p. 91