Edward Lear's Alphabet Of Nonsense

Three illustrated nonsense alphabets were published in Lear's lifetime, and a further three in the fifth, posthumous edition of Nonsense Botany and Nonsense Alphabets of 1889. A number survive in manuscripts. Lear seems to have begun making nonsense alphabets in the mid-1850s, usually for children of his friends and acquaintances.

This alphabet was created for Ruth Decie. Lear had met her parents, Captain Richard Decie and his wife Bella, in Corfu in the preceding winter, and later stayed with Bella's parents, William and Arabella Prescott, at their home, Clarence House, Roehampton. It was during such a visit to Roehampton that Lear 'made an alphabet for the Decie baby', who was only a few days old at the time. It is one of the most charming of all Lear's alphabets, typically drawn on sheets of blue writing paper backed with linen.

The alphabet was bequeathed to the Ashmolean by a descendant of Ruth Decie, James Farquharson, who died in December 2011. Reproduced exactly as the original, along with the same verses repeated in a larger font for smaller readers. Includes an introduction by Colin Harrison. A perfect gift for the younger members of your family.

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Letters of the alphabet with a short poem beneath each drawing.
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