Sunday, 30 December 2012

Nonsense in Oxford

Edward Lear's 200th Birthday exhibition at the Ashmolean was, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment. Not enough Nonsense! But then, the whole point was to show his wonderful illustrations of birds, which are breathtaking in their detail. I just wish there had been more of them. I was much less taken by his landscapes of Italy and Egypt (sketches, water colours and oils) as they are all a bit "Victorian Romanticism of the Orient" for me (see also Roberts, Holman Hunt, Dadd etc.) That's my fault though, not Lear's. He is a product of his time after all and had not read Said. However there is one brilliant oil of an eviscerated tower, which has given me ideas.


I'd have welcomed much more Nonsense as there was precious little of the Owl and Pussycat and those bad Limericks, although hilariously a pin board was provided for visitors to write their own, with the same mixed results. This is not a poetic form that I ever want to dabble in. Someone remind me of that if ever I do.

Hurry if you want to take a peek, it's all over on 6 January. Also, if you want to see the brilliant Pre-Raphaelite paintings you're in for a disappointment as most of the best ones, especially the large canvases by Holman Hunt, Millais and Rosetti, and the Burne-Jones painted wardrobe are all in Tate Britain for a special exhibition, which I toyed with attending until I realised I'd be paying £14 to look at paintings from both museums I can see for nothing any other time.

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