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Mr Lear!

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Edward Lear was born on 12 May 1812, the twentieth of twenty-one children. He suffered badly from epilepsy, an illness much misunderstood, and he did not mention it to his very many friends As an adult he travelled extensively and sketched fiendishly, in spite of, or perhaps because of his illness. The sale of his landscapes funded his travel. He published illustrated accounts of his travels - most of which can be seen in the Tennyson Research Centre.

He is now known for his nonsense poems such as The Owl and the Pussycat, The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, The Pobble who has no Toes and the Dong with the Luminous Nose. These entertained the children of his friends of whom there were many. His Nonsense Book and books of limericks can be found in the libraries of both Alfred Tennyson and his son, Hallam.

His successive homes in San Remo were Villa Emily and Villa Tennyson. He admired Tennyson’s poetry enough to plan an enormous, but doomed project to publish 200 illustrations to accompany his poetry. He set three of Tennyson’s poems to music.

The images here relate to his longstanding friendship with the Tennyson family, particularly Tennyson’s wife, Emily. Lear was to say of her, ‘I should think, computing moderately, that 15 angels, several hundred of ordinary women, many philosophers, a heap of truly wise and kind mothers, 3 or 4 minor prophets and a lot of doctors and schoolmistresses, might all be boiled down, and yet their combined essence fall short of what Emily Tennyson is.’ (Letter 5398)

His friendship with the Tennysons began through Franklin Lushington, whose brother was married to Emily’s sister. There are 57 letters from Lear to members of the Tennyson family in the Tennyson Research Centre - about 45 to Emily, Tennyson’s wife, one of the few significant correspondences of his to survive. Lear died 29 January 1888.

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OPEM exhibition at The Collection

28 January - 2 May 2017

Exhibition Opening Times: 10:00am - 4:00pm


OPEM 4 is the fourth biennial open exhibition hosted by The Collection and Usher Gallery, and will showcase the work of local and regional artists who were chosen by a pair of industry experts (writer/curator Elinor Morgan and artist Brian Griffiths) based on the quality and originality of their work. Hundreds of artists from around Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and more entered into the competition, hoping to have their work featured centre-stage at a professional art exhibition.


The winning artists are:

• Reece Straw

• Jake Kent

• Stephanie Douet

• Jake Moore

• Selina Mosinski

• Matthew Chesney

• Ellen Brady

• Colette Griffin


This will be the first time some of these artists have exhibited with a professional institution. By winning the competition these artists will each receive money and supplies to fund the creation of an all-new original piece of work for this particular show. Other prizes include a £3000 purchasing/commissioning prize which has been sponsored by the Heslam Trust, while another artist will receive their own solo exhibition in The Usher Gallery.


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Last updated: 24 April 2012

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