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Robert McCracken Peck - The Natural History of Edward Lear

Robert McCracken Peck

A beautifully illustrated exploration of Edward Lear’s little-known career as a natural-history artist, with a foreword by David Attenborough.

 

Edward Lear (1812-1888) is best known today for his witty limericks and endearing nonsense verse.  But the celebrated author of “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” also created some of the most stunning paintings of birds and mammals during an age when many species were just being discovered and brough to private menageries and zoos throughout Europe.  This book brings together more than 200 of Lear’s strikingly beautiful illustrations of animals, plants, and landscapes, and sheds light on Lear’s astounding creativity, productivity, and success as an artist.  Robert also discusses Lear’s humour, extensive travels, and important place in the history of science, and shows how Lear influenced other artists such as Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak. 

 

He has spent the past 25 years researching this book, reading thousands of Lear’s letters, many of which are unpublished, and viewing hundreds of Lear’s illustrations in museums and private collections

  

Robert Peck is senior fellow and curator of art and artifacts at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.  His many books include Specimens of Hair: The curious Collection of Peter A Browne, and Head-hunters and Humming Birds: An Expedition into Ecuador.

 

Robert will be talking to us from his home in Philadelphia.