Friday, September 12, 2008

Edward Lear's “Kinchinjunga from Darjeeling”


The mighty view of Mt. Kanchenjunga had always attracted me, whenever I come to Gangtok I never forget to have the first glimpse of the mountain god of Sikkim from the back drop at Deorali. I was going through the book of Pema and Mita on Kanchenjunga and the moment I saw the oil canvas painting of Kanchenjunga called Kinchinjunga, I was spell bound.

The landscape called “Kinchinjunga from Darjeeling” painted by Edward Lear is 331 x 317 cm. The oil painting is found at National Museum Cardiff acquired for £300,000 from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

An interesting quote said that the Italian painter Edward Lear came to Darjeeling, India on the advice of Lord Aberdare to have his self portrait but Lear grew his fantasy for the Kinchinjunga Mountain instead. He wrote ‘Kinchinjunga is not – so it seems tome – a sympathetic mountain; it is so far off, so very god-like and stupendous.’ The work was completed on 1877 and dispatched from Rome to Darjeeling. A letter was written to Lady Aberdare that said ‘I hope you will kindly write me a line, when the “Kinchinjunga” arrives at Duffryn, to tell me how you like it. All I beg of you particularly is this, – that if it stands on the ground, you will put up a railing to prevent the children –particularly the twins, from falling over the edge into the Abyss.’