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Lear in Sicily

(a) The drawings for the Book of Nonsense were originally made during the years 1832-1836 for Lord Derby's grandchildren, while Lear was working on the plates for Gleanings from the Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall.

(b) Several drawings made by Lear in Sicily were exhibited at the exhibition recently organised by the Fine Arts Society, but it is impossible to connect any of these definitely with the Sicilian tour of 1847. Lear had toured Sicily in the years 1842-3, and one of his most ambitious oil paintings was "The Quarries of Siracuse" painted several years later, in 1852, which won the Art Union Prize at the Royal Academy and was bought by Earl Beauchamp for £2 50. Davidson, Edward Lear, pp. 78-82. Mr. P. Hope Bagenal, A.R.I.B.A., is the owner of a drawing by Lear, dated 1849, of Girgenti with the temple in the background, made from nearly the same point of view as one of Proby's drawings.

(c) Letters of Edward Lear, pp. 3-5.

(d) See below, p. 11.

(e) Since 1837 Lear had been living in Rome and earning a good living as a drawing-master.

(f) Davidson, Edward Lear, pp. 43, 44. 'Ann', to whom the letters quoted in this and the following paragraph were written was Lear's unmarried sister and chief correspondent.

(g) Letters of Edward Lear, pp. 119, 120.

(h) Later Letters of Edward Lear, p. 75.

(i) Williarn Allen, Lord Proby, eldest son of 1st Earl of Carysfort, b. 1779; Captain R.N. 1798; M.P. for Buckingham 1802-1804; d. unmarried at Surinam of yellow fever, August 6, 1804, while in command of the Frigate Amelia. A few of his letters survive and there is a long letter from Lord Carysfort's cousin Lady Seaforth, whose husband was Governor of the Barbadoes at the time, describing his illness and death. He was buried in St. Michael's Cathedral, Barbadoes, His coffin was found in 1925 when a vault was opened at the time of the erection of the new organ, and my father, the late Colonel D. J. Proby put up a tablet in the Cathedral to his memory.

(j) John Proby, 2nd Earl of Carysfort, b. 1780; served in the Army throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars; {21} M.P. for Buckingham 1805, and for Huntingdonshire 1806-1807 and 1814-1818. A few of his letters have survived, one of which gives a long account of his experiences during the retreat to Corunna. He became insane in 1817 and died in 1855.

(k) Granville Leveson Proby, 3rd Earl of Carysfort, b. 1782; joined the Navy in 1798, was present as a midshipman at the Battle of the Nile, where he was in charge of a boat sent to rescue Casabianca, and appears with Nelson and others on the Quarterdeck of the Vanguard in Orme's picture of the Battle. He was a lieutenant on H. M. S. Neptune at Trafalgar. His last command as captain was the Amelia (which had formerly been commanded by his eldest brother Williarn Allen Lord Proby) which he paid off in 1816. M.P. for Co. Wicklow 1816-1829; succeeded his brother as 3rd Earl of Carysfort in 1855; d. 1868.

(l) Lady Powerscourt became a widow in 1823, the year after her marriage, and died on December 10, 1836. Her stepdaughter, Catherine Anne Wingfield, afterwards Hon. Mrs. H. E. Stuart, and her niece Catherine Parnell, afterwards Mrs. G. V. Wigram, who lived with her, were playmates of the Proby children, to whom Lady Powerscourt took the place of a mother after the death of her sister, whom she only survived by ten months. She was very prominent in evangelical circles in the Church of Ireland, but during the last few years of her life was a member of the Plymouth Brethren. Her Letters and Papers were edited in 1839 by Robert Daly, Rector of Powerscourt (afterwards Bishop of Cashel.)

(m) Her third son John, b. 1811, married, in 1834, Delia Stewart, daughter of Commodore Charles Stewart, U.S. Navy, and was father of Charles Stewart Parnell.

(n) The school had a continuous history, since it was moved from London in 1665 to Cheam to avoid the plague. William Gilpin (the original of 'Dr. Syntax') became headmaster in 1752; and was succeeded by his son another Williarn Gilpin, who retired in 1806. In 1826 his successor, the Rev. J. Wilding, sold the school to Dr. Mayo, who was succeeded a few years before his death in 1846, by his brother-in-law, the Rev. H. Shepheard, from whom it was acquired by the Rev. R. S. Tabor, in 1855. Dr. Charles Mayo after spending 3 years as chaplain in Pestalozzi's establishment at Yverdun, had opened a school at Epsom in 1822, for the purpose of shewing the application of Pestalozzi's principles to the education of the upper classes. When he bought Cheam in 1826, he brought his own pupils from Epsom with him, and dismissed Mr. Wilding's-and claimed that this broke the continuity and that his was not the Cheam School of the past. He was assisted by his wife, née Mary Shepheard, C. F. Reiner, a Young German from Frankfort who had been with him at Yverdun, and after leaving Cheam in 1848, became tutor to the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), and his sister Elizabeth who remained at Cheam till 1834. All of these are referred to in the Proby correspondence and there is a {22} long letter to John Joshua and Granville Proby from their mother, about a cabinet for containing mineral specimens, which they were having made in imitation of one belonging to Miss Mayo.
Genealogists Magazine vol V. pp. 130-133, 162-167.
D.N.B. XXXVII. pp. 169, 170, 172.
Hugh left Cheam in
1842, and after some years with private tutors, went up to Cambridge in 1848. He was one of the Cambridge crew, composed entirely of Trinity men, which defeated Oxford on March 29, 1849. This was the only year in which the race was rowed twice on the Putney to Mortlake course, the second occasion being on December 15, when Hugh Proby was not a member of the crew, and the race, for the only time in its history, was awarded to Oxford on a foul. Drinkwater and Sanders, University Boat Race Official Centenary History 1829-1929, pp. 34-6.
Hugh went to Australia in 1851, to take up sheep and cattle farming, and was drowned in 1852 while following some of his cattle, in a creek on his own runs. His letters, which have been preserved, give an interesting account of life in the Bush at the time.

(o) S. W. Lawley, afterwards the Rev. S. W. Lawley, b. 1823, third son of the 1st Lord Wenlock, was a connection of Proby's; for his mother, née Caroline Neville, was a daughter of the 2nd Lord Braybrooke, whose wife, née Lady Catherine Grenville, was sister of Elizabeth, wife of the 1st Earl of Carysfort. The Probys and the Nevilles of the earlier generation were on very intimate terms, and frequently visited one another; and the Probys usually broke their journeys from Elton to London, and back, at Audley End.

(p) Mr. Edward Scott, whose reminiscences of this party are quoted in Knight, Principal Shairp and his Friends pp. 106-111, identifies 'The grave man nicknamed Adam' with Clough and 'Arthur, the glory of headers' with Walrond, and says that 'Philip' recalls traits both of Shairp and Tom Arnold.
The party in
1843, of which Proby was a member, is described at length in Chapter V, see especially pp. 64, 69.

(q) 'I am glad you like Arnold. I am in hopes you still do so on more intimate acquaintance, a Christian gentleman I hold to be a invaluable friend; they are seldom to be met with and I hope you will ever be too right minded not to distinguish between such and a gentleman merely in right of his birth and wealth.'

(r) Clough, Shairp, Matthew Arnold, Freeman, Mark Pattison and J. A. Froude were all placed in the Second Class.

(s) S. W. Lawley in a letter dated April 3, 1844, refers to Proby's having applied to Wall 'for a vacant place in his Vacation Coach'. This presumably refers to a reading party. The letter goes on to say 'I think he (Wall) is exactly the man that you had need of and as to getting your head confused between Temple's nominalism and Wall's realism it must be taken {23} for granted, that for the schools you adopt the clearer Theory and throw the other overboard. The only advice that I have to offer you about him, is, that you should pull him up now and then when he goes off in digressions about Plato's system . . . as useless to Logic, and only hobbies of his own. In this I think him a bore.'
After leaving Oxford Proby consulted Wall on the choice of a profession and received a long letter from Wall, begun on January 8 and finished on January 31,
1846, advising him to study for the Bar.
Temple (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury) had been appointed a lecturer at Balliol 1842, and was at the time fellow and junior Dean of the College.

(t) His reasons were probably financial, for till he succeeded his brother in 1855, he was in comparatively straitened circumstances and had recently incurred heavy expense in connection with the marriage of his second daughter Elizabeth Emma to Lord Claud Hamilton. Proby's expenses at Oxford had been borne mainly by his maternal uncle Sir Ralph Howard. Proby's brother Granville, represented Co. Wicklow from 1858 to 1868, when he succeeded his father as 4th Earl of Carysfort.

(u) Sir Robert Gordon, brother of Lord Aberdeen, was spending the winter in Rome, after resigning the embassy at Vienna which he had held from 1841 to 1846. He died suddenly in 1847 at Balmoral, of which he held the lease. In the following year his executors sold the remainder of the lease to the Prince Consort, who built Balmoral Castle on the site of the older house, and subsequently acquired the freehold of the Estate from Lord Fife. Lord Claud Hamilton, who was under two years of age when his mother, the widow of James Viscount Hamilton, became the second wife of Lord Aberdeen, was on very intimate terms with the Gordon (Aberdeen) family, and most of his life, before his marriage in 1844, had been spent at Haddo or at Argyll House, Lord Aberdeen's London residence.

(v) He paid short visits to England in 1849, 1852, when according to Battersby he learnt for the first time that his illness was fatal and that there was no chance of recovery, and in 1854, when he spent a short time at Elton, where he was joined by his sister, Lady Claud Hamilton. In August 1858, when he had only a few months to live, he was brought home by his brother Granville to Chelsea House (recently demolished) which his father had taken for the summer. A few weeks later the family moved to Melrose Hall, Putney, where he died on November 19.

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[Lear in Sicily] [Introduction—I] [Introduction—II] [Notes] [part 1] [part 2] [part 3] [part 4]

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