Edward Lear is buried in the Foce
Cemetery in San Remo in Italy.
Edward Lear's Grave,
San Remo, Italy
Lear was born in Holloway in north London and was the
20th child of a stockbroker but was largely brought up
by his elder sister Ann.
At the age of
nineteen he began a career as a draughtsman for the
Zoological Society and soon published a volume of
coloured plates of the parrot family. The experience of
drawing birds and animals for the society fed his
imagination and later resurfaced when he started
He came under the patronage of the Earl
of Derby and to amuse the earl's grandchildren he wrote
A Book of Nonsense Verse (1845). The opening poem
in the collection was the now-famous The Owl and the
Pussy-Cat. The poem highlights his verbal
inventiveness and sense of fantasy. Like his
contemporary Lewis Carroll, Lear is credited with a
number of neologisms - most famously the 'runcible
Lear travelled extensively before
settling in San Remo in 1871. For much of his life, he suffered from epilepsy, depression and loneliness. He was a close friend of
Tennyson's wife Emily and named his house in San Remo
the 'Villa Tennyson'. One of his ambitions was to
fully illustrate Tennyson's poems.
Lear never married but he was very attached to his
Giorgio Cocali - who is buried was next to him at San
Remo. His other important companion was his cat Foss who
died in 1886 and was buried with considerable ceremony in the garden of his villa.
Today, Lear is particularly remembered for his
limericks. However his reputation as a skilled
watercolourist has also risen.