Lear’s Thermopylae

The year 2020 marked the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC).  Collected here are some of the images Lear made during and after his visit to the site of Thermopylae in June 1848.

The Mountains of Thermopylae, 1852, oil on canvas, 68 x 135 cm. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.  Lear wrote to W.M. Rossetti:

I know it is quite the best representation of Greek scenery & climate I have yet painted”.

  Mountains of Thermopylae, 1852, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

26 [probably 27] June 1848.

Pen and ink and watercolour, 14 x 23.2 cm.  Lear’s number 84.

Private collection.

Mount Oeta and Thermopylae from near Lamia,
26 [probably 27] June 1848.

Pen and brown ink and watercolour, 
heightened with white, 25.5 x 45 cm.
Lear’s number 85.

Private collection.

Thermopylae, n.d.
[?27 June 1848].

Sepia ink, ochre and blue wash on light 
tan paper, 15.1 x 38.6 cm.
No Lear number.

Houghton Library, Harvard.

Mount Oeta from Near Lamia,
26 June 1848; reworked 1850.
Private collection.

Thermopylae, Greece, 1848; reworked 1863.

Watercolour and gouache on white paper,  17.7 x 37.2 cm.

Houghton Library, Harvard.

The Spercheius, near Thermopylae,
illustration to Tennysons poem “The Palace of Art”.

Black and grey ink with grey wash.
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Spercheius, 29 June 1848.

Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour 
heightened with white, 18.1 x 29.2 cm. Lear’s number 100.

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.   

On the Spercheius near Thermopylae, 30 June 1848; reworked 1850.

Watercolour, sepia ink and Chinese white  on brown paper pasted on board,
28.5 x 46.4 cm.

Houghton Library Harvard.  

The monogram Lear often used on his later studio watercolours can be seen at the bottom left.

Thermopylae, 1872.
 Oil on canvas,  34 x 54 cm.

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

A smaller, later version of the Bristol Art Gallery painting illustrated at the top of the page.

Thermopylae, 30 June 1848.

Pen and ink and watercolour heightened  with white on grey paper, 17.5 x 28.5 cm.
Lear’s number 102.
Private collection.  

Thermopylae, hot springs under Mount Kallidromos, n.d. [30 June 1848].

Pen and ink and watercolour heightened  with white.

Lear’s number 103.

Private collection.   

Near Vodonitza, 30 June 1848.
Lear’s number 105.

Private collection.  

There was an Old Man
of Thermopylæ

X was King Xerxes

X was King Xerxes

Autograph MS.