‘At present I am at work ferociously on the Petraja & I must say it promises well.”
So wrote Edward Lear to his friend, Chichester Fortescue on 29th August, 1861:
Lear reached Florence in June 1861, where he was immediately inspired by the local colour and light of the surroundings. Painted for Lady Waldegrave, the present picture shows Florence from the celebrated gardens of the Medici Villa La Petraja.
This view over the city of Florence has Pre-Raphaelite resonances, particularly in the attention to naturalistic detail in the foreground. The weighty bank of trees in the middle forms a magnificent transition between the sharp details of the foreground and the diffused blues of the background and the campaniles and domes of the distant city.
Signature: Signed with monogram and dated EL /1861 at lower left
Painted for Lady Waldegrave, 1861, and by descent
Lord Waldegrave [Possibly William Waldegrave, 9th Earl Waldegrave]
Christie’s, London, 10 February 1900, lot 17 (28 gns to Tyrell)
Francis Fortescue Urquhart, Oxford, by 1911