Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Edward Lear

Facebook is currently suggesting interesting places to visit - including Albania

Since I can actually see the snow-capped mountains of Albania from where I am sitting writing this, it seems a good opportunity to revisit Albania itself - through the eyes of this little man:

 His name is Edward Lear, best known perhaps as creator of amusing limericks and eccentric poems - such as The Owl and the Pussycat

He was also a brilliant artist and in 1848 explored northern Greece and Albania

The result was a lively journal, illustrated with a number of beautiful lithographs of places he visited, including some remote and hitherto unexplored parts of Albania

Although only working with three colours (one of which is black) his illustrations are both delicate and atmospheric, capturing some of the mystery of this land about which, at that time, so little was actually known

Albania and Greece were ruled then by Turkey. The text itself recounts the trials and tribulations of the traveller in a very remote region, beset with thieves and vagabonds but also recipient of warm hospitality from the inhabitants of isolated mountain villages - most of whom had never seen a western European before!

Edward Lear's travels in Greece and Albania was first published in 1851. The illustrations for this brief article are taken from the William Kimber edition, published in 1965

Edward Lear also spent some time in Corfu (where I now live) so I will return to him in this blog later - so please come back again soon!

Mike Healey

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