Items of Interest / News

“The Natural History of Edward Lear” by Robert McCracken Peck

We would like to recommend Dr. Robert McCracken Peck’s recent wonderful publication, The Natural History of Edward Lear, in which he explores Lear’s leading role in the history of bird illustration and art.  Peck is Curator of Art and Senior Fellow at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. It is published by ‘ACC Art Books’ and can be bought (£27.99) by clicking on the following link or all reputable online book retailers (including Amazon): 

“For almost 200 years, through his verses, books, and paintings, Edward Lear has given pleasure to innumerable people on many subjects. Until now, his interest in natural history has been rarely explored. In this well researched, engagingly written, and beautifully illustrated book, Robert Peck establishes Lear’s leading place in the history of bird illustration and art. There is much to learn about his extraordinary life, and many of his paintings of birds and mammals are reproduced here for the first time.” Christine E. Jackson, F.L.S., author of Dictionary of Bird Artists of the World, Great Bird Paintings: The Old Masters, and Menageries in Britain 1100-2000

“This beautiful book, written by a scholar of unusual discernment and erudition, illuminates the career and work of one of the most broad-ranging artists of the nineteenth century. Peck brings to his subject the depth of knowledge and understanding necessary to illuminate the forces that enabled Lear, against enormous odds, to become one of the premier naturalist artists and landscape painters of his generation.” Amy Meyers, Director Yale Center for British Art

“What a marvelous book! Bob Peck’s scholarship, in-depth research, and clear narrative illuminate a fascinating period in the natural sciences and bring new significance to Edward Lear’s art and work.” Leslie K. Overstreet Curator of Natural-History Rare Books Smithsonian Institution Libraries

“In words and striking images, The Natural History of Edward Lear reveals the unique and enduring impact this remarkable personality had on the art of his own time — and how he continues to inspire both artists and writers today. Whether you know Lear first as a limericist or as an artist, you will be surprised at how the two are fused in his life. Robert McCracken Peck’s thorough research puts Lear in the context of 19th Century London’s burgeoning scientific and publishing worlds and sets Lear’s distinctive place among the great painters of birds and animals those worlds together made possible.” Roger F. Pasquier, author of Masterpieces of Bird Art and Painting Central Park

“The first comprehensive account of one of the greatest of all natural history illustrators, Peck’s splendid book throws new light on the seminal importance of Lear’s early work, and its lasting influence on his later life, both in landscape painting and nonsense making.” Colin Harrison Senior Curator of European Art Ashmolean Museum Oxford