The accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 coincided with the beginning of the great age of rail and steamship travel. Artists from Britain were soon spreading across the world in search of new and exotic subjects. Those who went to the Middle East became known as orientalists.
The lead figure was John Frederick Lewis who spent thirteen years there from 1838, followed by David Roberts, William Müller and Sir David Wilkie. Later contributors include the Pre-Raphaelites, William Holman Hunt and Thomas Seddon, who travelled together to Palestine 1854–6. Hunt later returned there in 1869–72, 1875–8 and 1892.