Lear, Edward, 1812–88, English humorist and artist. At 19 he was employed as a draftsman by the London Zoological Society; the paintings of parrots that he produced for The Family of the Psittacidae (1832) were among the first color plates of animals ever published in Great Britain. Lear is best known for his illustrated limericks and nonsense verse, which were collected in A Book of Nonsense (1846), Nonsense Songs (1871), Laughable Lyrics (1877), and others. He spent most of his adult life abroad, and wrote several illustrated journals of his European travels, e.g., Journals of a Landscape Painter in the Balkans.
See biographies by A. Davidson (1938, repr. 1968), V. Noakes (1969), and P. Levi (1995); V. Noakes, ed., The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense (2001); studies by V. Dehejia (1989) and J. Wullschläger (1995).
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