Lewis, Landseer and Lawrence

Back to News

Posted 27th August 2019

John Frederick Lewis

This blog is about our latest exhibition dedicated to the life and art of the Victorian Orientalist artist John Frederick Lewis.

Lewis was a well-travelled artist, visiting Europe and then settling in Cairo where he created numerous detailed and vivid sketches that conveyed his fascination for the region. This body of work would provide a wealth of inspiration for the rest of his career and caused him to be received with critical acclaim on his return to Britain, despite a decade of absence. Exhibiting an array of Lewis's work from across his career, this exhibition will explore the paradoxical tensions that exist between Lewis's varying personas, from young dandy to 'languid Lotus-eater', leader of the establishment to eccentric recluse.

Lewis, Landseer and Lawrence

Encouraged by the accomplishments of his friend, the foremost animal painter Sir Edwin Landseer RA, Lewis spent his early twenties focusing on popular rural sporting subjects. Scenes of fishing, hunting and hounds brought him both success and a dependable income.

Sir Thomas Lawrence, London's leading portraitist and the President of the Royal Academy, was impressed by Lewis's characterful portrayal of animals. He supported the young artist by acquiring his drawings, including Lion and Lioness Asleep.

The exhibition

This is one of a series of blog posts about our exhibition John Frederick Lewis: Facing Fame