- John Frederick Lewis 1805–1876
- Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
- Support: 305 x 254 mm
- Presented by H. Finch 1907
Lewis spent a year in Constantinople (now Istanbul), from October 1840, before travelling on to Egypt, where he lived for nearly ten years. Taking up residence in Cairo, he adopted the costume and lifestyle of an Ottoman Turk. Thackeray described Lewis’s existence as ‘like a languid Lotus-eater, dreamy, lazy, hazy, tobaccofied life’. In fact Lewis was extremely industrious, and he returned to London in 1851 with a large collection of sketches, such as the one shown here. He used these closely observed images of people and settings as the basis for his highly acclaimed watercolours and oil paintings.
Gallery label, September 2004