Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Alfred Tennyson's poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published, but his vision for the work was never realised. Lear briefly gave drawing lessons to Queen Victoria, leading to some awkward incidents when he failed to observe proper court protocol. He did not keep good health. From the age of six until the time of his death he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, as well as bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness.
Lear experienced his first epileptic fit while sitting in a tree. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a fit in time to remove himself from public view. How Lear was able to anticipate his fits is not known, but many people with epilepsy report a ringing in their ears or an "aura" before the onset of a fit. In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks which went through three editions and helped popularise the form.
In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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