其他旅行期间,他参观了希腊和埃及在1848 - 49,并参观了印度和锡兰在1873 - 75。旅行时他创作了大量的彩色洗图纸在一种独特的风格,他后来在他的工作室石油和转换水彩画绘画,以及印他的书。他的景观风格往往显示视图与强烈的阳光,强烈对比的颜色。
1842年李尔开始一段旅程意大利半岛,旅行拉齐奥,罗马,阿布鲁佐,莫利塞,阿普利亚,卡拉布利亚,西西里。个人笔记,和图纸一起,李尔聚集他的印象在意大利的生活方式,民间传统,和美丽的古迹。李尔王是特别感兴趣阿布鲁佐他在1843年访问,通过Marsica(Avezzano CelanoAlba Fucens的高原,Trasacco)和五英里赛(因为卡斯特尔di Sangro和Alfedena),老羊的牧人。
李尔王被引入自己有着悠久的笔名:“先生Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph”或“Chakonoton Cozovex西Fossi还是Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla羽毛球拍和羽毛球德里德里转储”的基础上Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.
Lear suffered from lifelong health afflictions. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, and bronchitis, asthma, and during later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father. The event scared and embarrassed him. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. When Lear was about seven years old he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the instability of his childhood. He suffered from periods of severe melancholia which he referred to as "the Morbids."
Lear was already drawing "for bread and cheese" by the time he was aged 16 and soon developed into a serious "ornithological draughtsman" employed by the Zoological Societyand then from 1832 to 1836 by the Earl of Derby, who kept a private menagerie at his estate, Knowsley Hall. Lear's first publication, published when he was 19 years old, wasIllustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830. One of the greatest ornithological artists of his era, he contributed to John Gould's works and was compared favourably with the naturalist John James Audubon.
Among other travels, he visited Greece and Egypt during 1848–49, and toured India andCeylon during 1873–75. While travelling he produced large quantities of coloured washdrawings in a distinctive style, which he converted later in his studio into oil and watercolour paintings, as well as prints for his books. His landscape style often shows views with strong sunlight, with intense contrasts of colour.
Between 1878 and 1883 Lear spent his summers on Monte Generoso, a mountain on the border between the Swiss canton of Ticinoand the Italian region of Lombardy. His oil painting The Plains of Lombardy from Monte Generoso is in the Ashmolean Museum in the English city of Oxford.
Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson's poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published.
In 1842 Lear began a journey into the Italian peninsula, travelling through the Lazio, Rome,Abruzzo, Molise, Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily. In personal notes, together with drawings, Lear gathered his impressions on the Italian way of life, folk traditions, and the beauty of the ancient monuments. Of particular interest in Lear was the Abruzzo, which he visited in 1843, through the Marsica (Celano, Avezzano, Alba Fucens, Trasacco) and the plateau of Cinque Miglia (Castel di Sangro and Alfedena), by an old sheep track of the shepherds.
Lear drew a sketch of the medieval village of Albe with Mount Sirente, and described the medieval village of Celano, with the castle of Piccolomini dominating the vast plain of Lago Fucino, which was drained a few years later to promote agricultural development. At Castel di Sangro, Lear described the winter stillness of the mountains and the beautiful basilica.
Lear played the accordion, flute, and guitar, but primarily the piano. He composed music for many Romantic and Victorian poems, but was known mostly for his many musical settings of Tennyson's poetry. He published four settings in 1853, five in 1859, and three in 1860. Lear's were the only musical settings that Tennyson approved of. Lear also composed music for many of his nonsense songs, including "The Owl and the Pussy-cat," but only two of the scores have survived, the music for "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò" and "The Pelican Chorus." While he never played professionally, he did perform his own nonsense songs and his settings of others' poetry at countless social gatherings, sometimes adding his own lyrics (as with the song "The Nervous Family"), and sometimes replacing serious lyrics with nursery rhymes.
Lear's most fervent and painful friendship involved Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in 1849 and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an undoubtedly homosexual passion for him that Lushington did not reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear's death, the disparity of their feelings for one another constantly tormented Lear. Indeed, none of Lear's attempts at male companionship were successful; the very intensity of Lear's affections seemingly doomed the relationships.
The closest he came to marriage was two proposals, both to the same woman 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on friends and correspondents, and especially, during later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in San Remo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson.
Lear travelled widely througout his life and eventually settled in San Remo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named "Villa Tennyson."
Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: "Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph" or "Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps" which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.
After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in 1888 of heart disease, from which he had suffered since at least 1870. Lear's funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. Hassall, Lear's physician, none of Lear's many lifelong friends being able to attend.
Lear is buried in the Cemetery Foce in San Remo. On his headstone are inscribed these lines about Mount Tomohrit (in Albania) from Tennyson's poem To E.L. [Edward Lear], On His Travels in Greece:
The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988 and an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lear's birthplace area is now marked with a plaque at Bowman's Mews, Islington, in London, and his bicentenary during 2012 was celebrated with a variety of events, exhibitions and lectures in venues across the world including an International Owl and Pussycat Day on his birth anniversary.
In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and helped popularize the form and the genre of literary nonsense. In 1871 he published Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets, which included his most famous nonsense song, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed.
Lear's nonsense books were quite popular during his lifetime, but a rumor developed that "Edward Lear" was merely a pseudonym, and the books' true author was the man to whom Lear had dedicated the works, his patron the Earl of Derby. Promoters of this rumor offered as evidence the facts that both men were named Edward, and that "Lear" is an anagram of "Earl."