Bicentenary of Edward Lear 12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888

by Ann Sylph on

12 May 2012 is the bicentenary of Edward Lear's birth so this month we are featuring some of the Edward Lear watercolours we hold and which have not been featured in the past as artefacts!

Now better remembered for his nonsense verse, he began his career as a zoological illustrator.

ZSL is fortunate to have 12 original watercolours by Edward Lear, seven of these were used as a basis for lithographic colour plates in our publication Transactions of the Zoological Society.

Cryptoprocta ferox, watercolour by Edward Lear. 1833.
Cryptoprocta ferox, watercolour by Edward Lear. 1833. Reproduced as a lithograph in TRANSACTIONS OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON Vol. 1 (1835) Pl. 21

ZSL's Library also contains books illustrated by Edward Lear and about him Edward Lear : list of books and paintings in ZSL Library (279 KB) both books and artworks are listed in our online catalogue http://library.zsl.org . Please note that members of the public are welcome to visit and use ZSL Library but both photographic ID and proof of address will be required on your first visit. Appointments are not normally necessary but they are needed to view most of the items by Edward Lear as they are part of our special collections Library Regulations for Special Collections (96 KB)

Kob Antelope by Edward Lear ; watercolour 1837.
Kob Antelope by Edward Lear ; watercolour 1837.

Other `Artefacts' featuring the works of Edward Lear include:

Illustrations of the Family Psittacidae or Parrots. The first plates were published in 1830 when Lear was only 18.This wonderful book is featured as Artefact of the month October 2010.

Watercolor of Lagotis cuvieri Artefact of the month April 2012

Watercolour of a whiptail wallaby, Macropus parryi Artefact of the month February 2011

Northern Red Bishop, Euplectes Franciscans, watercolour by  Edward Lear. 1834
Northern Red Bishop, Euplectes franciscans, watercolour by Edward Lear. 1834

Many UK zoos celebrated the Lear bicentenary with an Owl and the Pussycat day on Saturday 12 May. At ZSL London Zoo on Saturday 12 May and Sunday 13 May there will be Lear inspired story-telling in the Event Space, courtyard of Animal Adventure at 12 noon and 2.30pm.

The Blog of Bosh - Edward Lear Website gives details of events taking place around the world to celebrate the bicentenary.

ZSL have lent three items to the Royal Society for Edward Lear and the Scientists Exhibition

Select a blog

Artefact of the month

Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.

Asia Conservation Programme

Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.

B.U.G.S Blog

Find out more about life in our B.U.G.S exhibit

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

A new Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.

ZSL Shop

See the latest ranges, updates and special offers from our exciting new online shop.

Wild About Magazine

Excerpts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine.

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Discover more about the UK's biggest zoo with our fun blog posts!

Discovery and Learning in the Field

Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.

Conservation

Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs

Elephantastic!

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.

Tiger conservation

Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.

Videographer Blog

One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.

Wild Science

From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Wildlife Wood Project Cameroon

The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.

Penguin expedition blog

Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica

Amur Leopard

Amur leopard conservation blog

Baby Giraffe Diaries

Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!

Biodiversity and Palm Oil

Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.

Science

Science blogs

Tsaobis Baboon Blog

Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.