The Remarkable Nature of Edward Lear


Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6:00pm


Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Two flamingos one laying down, the other standing on one leg.

Free Public Lecture

Robert McCracken PeckCurator of Art and Artifacts, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Edward Lear (1812–1888), best known for The Owl and the Pussycat and other nonsense poetry, was also an accomplished painter of birds, mammals, reptiles, and landscapes, and an adventurous world traveler. His paintings of parrots, macaws, toucans, owls, and other birds are among the finest ever published. Robert McCracken Peck will discuss the remarkable life and natural history paintings of this beloved children’s writer, who mysteriously abandoned his scientific work soon after achieving preeminence in the field.

Free event parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage


This event will be livestreamed on the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture (HMSC) Facebook page and the HMSC website. A recording of this program will be available on the HMSC Lecture Videos page approximately three weeks after the lecture.

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About the Speaker:

Robert McCracken Peck is a writer, naturalist, and historian who has traveled extensively in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. He is the author of The Natural History of Edward Lear (David R. Godine, 2016); A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science (2012), with co-author Patricia Tyson Stroud; Land of the Eagle: A Natural History of North America (1990); Headhunters and Hummingbirds: An Expedition into Ecuador (1987); A Celebration of Birds: The Life and Art of Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1982); and co-author of All in the Bones: A Biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (2008). He has also written for newspapers and a wide range of popular and scholarly publications. Mr. Peck has served as a guest curator for and consultant to museums and libraries in the U.S. and has lectured widely at home and abroad. He was a guest curator of a bicentennial exhibition of Edward Lear’s natural history paintings at Harvard University’s Houghton Library.