Born on May 12, 1812, in London, Edward Lear as a teenager found artistic work drawing zoological specimens for illustrated books. One of his patrons was the earl of Derby, for whose children he devised the Book of Nonsense, published in 1846, the year after he had given drawing lessons to Queen Victoria. After 1837 he left England, returning only occasionally until his death at San Remo in January 1888. Lear suffered from epilepsy and depression. His original nonsense book went through several dozen editions, and he published as well Nonsense Songs and Stories (1871), More Nonsense Songs, Pictures, &tc. (1872), Laughable Lyrics (1877), and Nonsense Botany and Nonsense Alphabets. Lear's letters are edited by Viven Noakes in 1988 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; PR 4879 .L2Z73). Peter Levi's Edward Lear: A Biography (London: Macmillan, 1995; PR 4879 .L2Z73) is a recent life.