John Frederick Lewis

Study for ‘The Courtyard of the Coptic Patriarch’s House in Cairo’

c.1864

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 368 x 356 mm
frame: 650 x 630 x 110 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1900
Reference
N01688

Display caption

The Coptic Church is the ancient Orthodox Christian Church of Egypt. This study of the patriarch’s house was executed after Lewis’s return from Egypt in 1851, from the sketches he brought back. The picture highlights Lewis’s skill in depicting figures and setting with careful attention to light and shade, produced here by the top-lit courtyard. Lewis caused a sensation when he exhibited one of his Near Eastern scenes in London in 1850. John Ruskin admired his attention to detail, claiming that in truth-to-nature he ranked alongside the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Gallery label, November 2016

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