Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012...10:03 am
Edward Lear exhibition opens
Houghton is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition, “The Natural History of Edward Lear,” guest-curated by Robert McCracken Peck, Curator of Art and Artifacts and Senior Fellow at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The exhibition will be on view in Houghton’s Edison and Newman Room through August 18, 2012. Mr. Peck will present “The Remarkable Nature of Edward Lear: An Illustrated Talk” in the Lamont Library Forum room on April 5th at 5:30PM.
Although he is best remembered today as a whimsical nonsense poet, adventurous traveler, and painter of luminous landscapes, Edward Lear (1812-1888) is revered in scientific circles as one of the greatest natural history painters of all time. During his brief immersion in the world of science he created a body of work that continues to inform, delight, and astonish us with its remarkable blend of scientific rigor and artistic finesse.
Thanks to the generosity of two discerning Harvard University benefactors, Philip Hofer and William B. Osgood Field, Houghton Library, Harvard’s principal special collections library, holds the largest and most complete collection of Edward Lear’s original paintings in the world. Among the thousands of items in this collection are some two hundred sketches, studies, and finished paintings devoted to natural history. This exhibition, commemorating the bicentennial of Lear’s birth, is the first devoted to this important aspect of his career.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated double issue of Harvard Library Bulletin, published by Houghton Library, featuring the catalog of the exhibition, an essay by Robert M. Peck on Lear as a natural history illustrator, and an account by Hope Mayo, Philip Hofer Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library, of the history and scope of Harvard’s Edward Lear collection. To order this special double issue (164 pages, 48 color images), please send a check for $30, made payable to Harvard College Library, to Monique Duhaime at Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138. Orders may also be placed at 617-495-2441 or duhaime at fas.harvard.edu.