Nonsense Botany and Nonsense Alphabets
Facsimile of the 1889 Edition
Distributed for British Library
Throughout his life, Edward Lear maintained the same love for painting that caused him to be compared to Audubon at age nineteen—and later saw him give brief drawing lessons to Queen Victoria. Nonsense Botany and Nonsense Alphabets contains numerous examples of the illustrations and pictorial descriptions from Edward Lear’s incredibly imaginative reserve of plants and creatures, each with appropriate captions and lyrics. His strange botanical illustrations include the likes of Manypeeplia Upsidownia, Piggiwiggia Pyramidalis, and Pollybirdia Singularis, while the Nonsense Alphabet consists of three sets of illustrated alphabets that twist and turn around bizarrely addictive imagery and language:
A was an ape,
Who stole some white tape,
And tied up his toes,
In four beautiful bows.
Funny old Ape!
Regardless of Lear’s inspiration or impetus, these writings and their accompanying images remain adored by children and adults alike, and the more than 150 illustrations presented here testify to Lear’s enduring popularity as a heroically comic poet and serious artist.