Posted on

Three newly discovered manuscripts by Edward Lear

Edward Lear (1812–88) is beloved as the author of “The Owl and the Pussycat” and as one of Britain’s finest nonsense poets. He was also a successful artist and a frequent traveller, who captivated those who knew him with his humorous verses. One such devotee – and a frequent correspondent during Lear’s later life – was a young woman called Mary Theresa Mundella (1847–1922), the daughter of a Liberal politician, Anthony John Mundella (1825–97). This friendship led to a stream of correspondence between Mary Mundella and Lear, as he entertained her with comic letters and poems containing his own special brand of nonsense. Mundella hoarded Lear’s epistles and gifted them to her niece, Dorothea Mary Roby Benson (1876–1942), later Lady Charnwood. It is in the Charnwood Autograph Collection, held at the British Library, that three new Lear manuscripts have been discovered. Read more