barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

Tabuan Parakeet

British, 1832

Coloured lithograph

Paper: 53.6 x 37.5 cm; mount: 71.5 x 53 cm 


To make lithographs, designs are drawn onto stone slabs with greasy ink before applying water that settles into un-marked areas. Then oily ink is added and adheres to the initial drawing, being repelled by water. Lithography was invented in Germany around 1796, yet only became commercially popular in the 1820s. During this time advanced techniques were developed, including the production of tonal shades, which suited sought-after coloured prints of landscapes. Although best known now for his nonsensical poems and drawings for children, Lear made many successful lithographic landscapes. He also produced one of the first British volumes on the study of birds. Here, colour provides an accurate representation of the parakeet. Such ornithological studies established his career as an illustrator and a master of lithography.

Purchased 2006 (No. 2006.4)

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