Edward Lear British

Not on view

Lear visited Monastir during a fall 1848 tour. His "Journals of a Landcape Painter in Albania, etc." (1851) record Constantinople as his point of departure, and arrival at Monastir on September 18th, with a stay of three days. Then part of the Ottoman Empire, the town lies in a region that borders Illyria and Macedonia and is today known as Bitola, within the Republic of Macedonia. In the mid-nineteenth century local Muslims regarded drawing as blasphemous and made it impossible initially for Lear to sketch outdoors. After visiting a local Ottoman official, the Cambridge eduated Emim Seraskier Pasha, he received a guard and was able to work unmolested. This view along the Dragor River includes a prominent tower at right (repurposed today into a clock tower), with the dome and minaret of the Jeni Mosque visible through trees. In the distance, Lear included a bridge lined with shops, noting in his journal that, "either looking up or down the river, the intermixture of minarets and mosques with cypress and willow foliage, forms subjects of the most admirable beauty...How picturesque were those parts of the crowded city in the Jews' quarter, where the elaborately detailed wooden houses overhung the torrent, shaded by grand plane, cypress, and poplar!" White-capped mountains may be seen in the distance.

Monastir, Edward Lear (British, London 1812–1888 San Remo), Watercolor and pen and ink on gray paper

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