Biography of Edward Lear (1812 – 1888)
Edward Lear (12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) was a British artist, illustrator and writer known for his nonsensical poetry and his limericks, a form which he popularised. He was born in Highgate, a suburb of London, the 20th child of his parents and raised by his eldest sister, Ann, twenty-one years his senior. At the age of fifteen, he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together. He started work as a serious illustrator and his first publication, at the age of 19, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830. His paintings were well received and he was favorably compared with Audubon. Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson’s poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published, but his vision for the work was never realised.
He did not keep good health. From the age of seven until the time of his death he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, as well as bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness.
In 1846 he published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks which went through three editions and helped popularise the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed.
Biography By: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Edward Lear.