Edward Lear, born in 1812, was a British artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised. Lear produced the illustrated poetry collection Book of Nonsense (1846) for the Earl of Derby's grandchildren. His other works include Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets (1871), containing The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, and Laughable Lyrics (1877). This beautiful facsimile features a short introduction about Edward Lear, and how he refused to acknowledge the 'nonsense' work in the earlier years because he wanted to be taken seriously as a landscape artist. Following this is a replica of each page, featuring the letters of the alphabet with the short poem underneath each drawing. This will be accompained by the poem again, this time written in a more accessible font so that children may read this too. The Ashmolean recently acquired an 1860s edition of the Alphabet of Nonsense, and it is this original that they have utilised in order to recreate this stunning classic.
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