John Frederick Lewis RA (2)

Mark Fisher is quite right to remind me that the RA owns a great number of drawings by John Frederick Lewis, including an album of juvenilia presented after his death in 1876 by his brother, Charles George, many of which were shown in the Tennant Gallery in 2008.   But he is, of course, principally remembered as an orientalist, moving to Constantinople in 1840 (he met Wilkie who was on his way to the Holy Land), and Cairo in November 1841, where he lived in a Mamluk mansion and was described by Thackeray in his Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo as leading ‘a dreamy, hazy, lazy tobaccofied life’.   After returning to England in 1851, he and his wife lived in Walton-on-Thames, his wife setting out his brushes for him every morning.   He was elected an ARA in 1859 and a full RA in 1865, but was disliked as a teacher in the RA Schools because of his irritable perfectionism.


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