CLICK). I wasn't aware of it, but Lear was a very talented young artist, being paid for his work by the age of 16. He was employed by the Zoological Society of London as an ornithological artist. Above is his superb painting of an Eagle Owl. He was still only 19 when he published his first book: Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae (Parrots). For 4 years he worked for the Earl of Derby, painting the Earl's menagerie (CLICK).
Update: today a plaque to honour Edward Lear was unveiled at 15 Stratford Place in Westminster, London, where he lived from 1853 until 1869 (CLICK).