It is so sad to read of the death of the great Nicholas Parsons. He has dominated tv and radio for all my life- I remember “sale of the Century” and the “Benny Hill show” with affection when I was little and more recently, I cannot think of a weekend without a fix of “Just a minute”, even doing catch-ups in Moscow and Athens (though Gyles Brandreth took over at least once this summer- he did well, but it was not quite the same, was it?). But, most of all, I also greatly appreciate the fact that he bothered to write to me once about my hero, Edward Lear. He was, indeed, often the person of choice to recite limericks on the radio and the tv – and his “Owl and the Pussycat” was excellent. With his passing, Lear-o-philes will be the poorer.
I also remember seeing him on stage in the “Rocky Horror” but, particularly, as the narrator in “Into the woods”, popping up at the end of act 1 with a daisy head-dress. I am about to do a programme on radio Fubar about rap and his opening of the Sondheim piece (along with the witch’s rap about vegetables of course) must qualify. It was a brave piece to do and he brought it off with aplomb.
I am not sure anyone has mentioned his Dr Who appearance as a vicar? Or that he took over from Tim Brooke Taylor as rector of St Andrews, my first university? What a wonderful man! Much to be missed.
Just keeping my hand in with older projects…
The arrival of the Judge
Edward Lear Background design- the woman of Smyrna:
I am slowly ploughing through the animation of the girl on a swing. It is animated on 1s so fairly time-consuming but the changing perspective demands this level of attention I think.
and here is a later version ( 26th)
Lear wrote some many limericks that there is really no end to the number of crazy drawings possible. Here are a couple of pictures for the new film that are loose versions of what we are also trying to animate for the “Following Lear” project – when it gets properly or fully financed! In the meantime..
Oh and here is one I did yesterday with a picture of Stirling castle in the background. Sometimes, I rather miss the days when I was at St Andrews… Scotland is such a glorious country in all respects!
While Edward Lear often drew cartoons of himself, he was also sketched and photographed a number of times. I have copied some of these images for a quick film I am making to illustrate the suite composed by David Watson, and that uses the themes from some of the songs he wrote for our project “Following Lear”. It is always interesting when looking closely at Lear how he is often looking into the distance. I think this is less to do with the mechanics of the camera and more to do with his general air of melancholy.
More than that, I learnt that a camera remained in the Kokali family and was passed around various houses in Corfu. This camera dates back to the period when Lear was at his most active drawing and sketching images of the landscape in Greece, Turkey and Albania. It is possible that Lear used the camera in his work, that he was comfortable with the machine and relaxed in its company.
Holman Hunt was a good friend and encouraged Lear to paint in teh open air. Lear did so but quickly gave up the effort and went back to his earlier system of creating detailed sketches, often annotated in modern Greek, a language he had studied and picked up in Corfu.
The elderly Lear:
and the Young Lear:
Lear wrote 212 limericks.
The Dong with the luminous nose is not strictly a limerick-
A poster for our exhibition in Wolfson, Oxford showing the owl and pussycat posingfor passports before embarking on their 366 day pea green cruise.