Lear, Edward (1812 – 1888)
A self-portrait: Sleeping in melon-beds!
A quite stunning two-page illustrated autograph letter by Edward Lear. Dated 9th September 1867, the author writes to a Mrs. Thomson Hankey, and begins with a hilarious and detailed self-caricature sketch showing Lear with seriously outstretched arms and legs. Lear then recounts his recent movements, before moving on to a projected visit to see his correspondent, at which point he explains the aforementioned sketch, “Meanwhile, if you are ever at any doubt about having room for me, it has occurred to me that there must be Melon-beds in the garden, and I could sleep perfectly well in one of these, provided only that I might use a melon as a pillow, and that the gardener be instructed not to push up the grates suddenly, whereby I might be choaked simultaneous.
I have a friend at Lewes who puts toads into his melon-beds to eat the snails, and if I might choose, I should prefer one without toads to sleep in. The illustration appended will show how well I could arrange myself” Lear signs off with his name followed by an amusing little sketch of a pig. A few small age-stains to the second page, otherwise in very fine condition. A remarkable and highly desirable example.