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Views in the Seven Ionian Islands
London: Edward Lear, 1 December, 1863. Folio. Original green pebble-grained cloth, rebacked, title gilt to the upper board and the spine, blind panelling to both boards. Lithographic title page with vignette and 20 similar plates, all with later (as often) colouring, here of the highest quality. Cloth slightly rubbed, creases to both boards, minor marginal soiling, one or two short splits to the plate margins, text leaves browned as usual and one or two a touch brittle, subscriber's leaf torn without loss and repaired, a very good copy. First edition. In 1854 Lear's close friend Franklin Lushington had been appointed judge at the supreme court of justice on Corfu, "and so Lear decided to join him and make a winter home in Corfu" (ODNB). He would become extremely familiar with the island and its environs over the next 10 years. The Ionian islands were ceded to Greece in 1863, and Lear decided to try to exploit this topicality with a view book, touring the islands before his return home. There are nine views of Corfu, including the title-vignette, three each of Santa Maura, Lefkas, Cephalonia and Zante, and one each of Paxos, Ithaca, and Cerigo. The subscription list of over 300 names is headed by the Royal Library and the prince of Wales. Lear made a net profit of £300, but had to chase up payment from no less than 50 of the subscribers (Noakes, Edward Lear, the Life of a Wanderer pp. 159-161). Peter Levi considers this "The finest of Lear's productions as a traveller, because its lithographs are of such beauty and done with such care … the most desirable of all of his books" (Levi, Edward Lear: A Biography, pp. xix & 185).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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