Knowing Edward Lear (www.knowingedwardlear.com) is a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Oxford University. It seeks to examine Lear’s nonsense writing alongside his natural history drawings, landscape paintings, travel books, correspondence, and diaries. The research has involved collaborations with a range of organisations, including the BBC, Harvard University, the Ashmolean Museum, the British Academy, the Natural History Museum, and the Tennyson Society. Much of the work has been made freely available to the public via YouTube, iTunes U, and other online resources, and Matthew Bevis’s monograph on Lear will be published by Oxford University Press.
The project has recently been awarded follow-on funding by the AHRC to support an exhibition which will take place in Autumn 2021 at the IKON Gallery in Birmingham (https://www.ikon-gallery.org), an educational charity that works to encourage public engagement with art. Edward Lear, Moment to Moment will be the first exhibition solely devoted to Lear’s sketches and landscape drawings from across the whole span of his career. The initiative will include a substantial exhibition catalogue, symposia, school visits, lectures, and workshops, and will also involve collaborations with HMP Grendon, Birmingham LGBT, and migrant and refugee organisations. IKON offers free entry to all and receives around 200,000 visitors each year.