Friday, 17 July 2009

Off the shelf: Lear 1

I thought I’d post a few nutty drawings by Edward Lear.
I’d like to say I’d got a first edition copy ‘A Book of Nonsense’ (1846) on my shelves, but I haven’t. In fact I haven’t got any copy of it at all and I can’t even get it in the local library these days. It's sad. Instead these are scans from a book called ‘The Children’s Wonder Book,’ a 768 page doorstop, published in 1933, which belonged to my dad. It’s full of stories from various sources including the Arabian Nights, Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, Huckleberry Finn, Gulliver’s Travels, Baron Munchausen and so on. There are also poems and lots of black and white illustrations, mostly by Anonymous (who seems to have done an awful lot of work - and leaves the occasional comment on this blog). Then there are eight pages of Edward Lear’s limericks.
When I was young I liked Lear’s poems and limericks alot, but thought the drawings he did were pretty crude. Now I feel the opposite; the limericks seem a bit lame, but the drawings are full of life and lunacy.
At college my early efforts at drawing cartoons were compared to Lear, which I was chuffed about, but my work has since lost that loopy energy. I’m trying to rediscover it but not having much success, probably due to a general lack of loopy energy.
Anyway, the first drawing accompanies this limerick:

There was a Young Lady whose bonnet
Came untied when the birds sat upon it;
But she said, “I don’t care!
All the birds in the air
Are welcome to sit on my bonnet!”

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