The Cedars of Lebanon

EDWARD LEAR (1812-1888) Biography

The Cedars of Lebanon (England, 1861)

Not for Sale Not for Sale
Oil on Canvas
Signed and dated


68.00cm high
113.50cm wide
(26.77 inches high)
(44.69 inches wide)
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Charles J. Roundell, M.P. for Grantham and Skipton, and thence by descent.


Lady Strachey, The Letters of Edward Lear, F. Fisher Unwin, London, 1907 page 317 number 226
Lady Strachey, Later Latters of Edward Lear, F. Fisher Unwin, London 1911, page 123
Noakes Vivian, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer, Collins, London 1968, page 185 (a drawing for the painting reproduced)

Description / Expertise

This is a version of ‘The Cedars of Lebanon’ which Lear painted in 1861 as the oil which would eventually establish his reputation. Received unfavourably at the Royal Academy in 1862, it was the cause of much bitterness and it was eventually sold in 1867 to Lady Ashburton. In a letter to Chichester Fortescue dated 1867, he wrote: “Sometimes I onsider as to the wit of taking my cedars out of its frame and putting it in the border of couloured velvet, embellished with a fringe of yellow worsted with black spots, to protypify the possible proximate propinquity of predatorial panthers – and then selling the whole for floorcloth by auction."
Charles Roundell, who commissioned this later version, was described by Lear as a “great friend of mine.”
The Cedar trees were painted from the cedars in the grounds of Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge. The oldest cedar, still there today, was reputed to have been one of the first imported to England from Lebanon, and was planted to commemorate the birth of Prince Henry, son of James I.