Thursday 1 June


Off Patras at 8-9: Stayed there an hour. Drew. Consul and Vice-Consul came on board (both “Wood”: Boscho Veccio et Verde).[11] Beautiful weather. Lunch at 12. At 3 p.m. Vostitza. Went on shore with Sir Stratford C[anning] and Lord A[ugustus] L[oftus].[12]

Wonderful dresses! House, Greek women. I have never seen anything so new and beautiful qua costumes for many years, since I first saw the Rocca San Stefano and Civitella dresses in 1838.[13]

Shall I remember these lovelinesses, these pure grey-blue seas, these clear skies, cut chiselled hills, and bright white sails, and glittering costumes, and deep shadows, when I am far away from them; if indeed I live?

The mountains grew finer as we steamed onward, opposite Parnassus, whose vast and snowy form seemed to me more grand than beautiful, and the gorges and individual characters of each hill were really sublime.

Good dinner at 6, the two Consulars of the party. On deck by sunset — gorgeous! Long talk, Sir Stratford and Lady C. Sir S. quotes Byron’s “Siege of Corinth.” Tea, very pleasant. Then in growing darkness we reached Loutraki, before 10 p.m. Acro-Corinth dimly visible. We are to go there tomorrow — a different sphere to one I should have chosen for a visit to Corinth, yet in its way agreeable. Perhaps indeed today may have been the most completely happy social day I have passed for a long time.

[11] Oldwood and Greenwood. Lear’s party travelled on a naval warship, HMS Antelope.

[12] Loftus, a diplomat and colonial administrator, was acting as Canning’s secretary. His memoirs record the voyage (“At Corfu we picked up the renowned artist, Mr. Lear”) and the subsequent stay in Athens: The Diplomatic Reminiscences of Lord Augustus Loftus 1837-1862 2 vols, 1, 147-51.

[13] Lear made many costume sketches during his Italian travels in 1838-9; here he recalls Rocca San Stephano and Civitella de Subiaco which featured in his Views in Rome (1841) and Illustrated Excursions in Italy(1846).

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