John Frederick Lewis RA , 1804-1875
A Veiled Egyptian Girl, Cairo, c. 1940
Watercolour and bodycolour
15 ½ x 11 ¼ inches; 396 x 285 mm
John Frederick Lewis RA (London 14 July 1804 – 15 August 1876) was an Orientalist English painter. He specialized in Oriental and Mediterranean scenes in exquisitely detailed watercolour or oils. Lewis lived for several years in a traditional mansion in Cairo, and (after his return to England) painted highly detailed works showing both realistic genre scenes of Middle Eastern life and more idealized scenes in upper class Egyptian interiors with no traces of Western cultural influence yet apparent.
His very careful and loving representation of Islamic architecture, furnishings, screens, and costumes set new standards of realism, which influenced other artists, including the leading French Orientalist painter Jean-Léon Gérôme in his later works. Unlike many other Orientalist painters who took a salacious interest in the women of the Middle East, he "never painted a nude", and his wife modelled for several of his harem scenes. More on John Frederick Lewis
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