After visiting Italy, Greece and Spain in search of subject matter, Lewis went to Egypt in 1841. He stayed there for ten years and continued to paint Middle- Eastern scenes until the end of his life.
This sketch was probably created on the spot. It shows the bazaar in the street of the Ghûriyah on the east side of the mosque of El-Ghûri. Lewis's art provided English viewers with a persuasive vision of Middle- Eastern life, based on first hand observations like this. Nonetheless, his finished paintings incorporated many traditional fantasies and assumptions about the Islamic world.
Gallery label, September 2004