The Young Lion

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Posted 20th 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.

The Young Lion

Raised in a creative household, Lewis was encouraged to draw from an early age. He honed his draughtsmanship through observational studies and perceptive self-portraiture.

Lewis did not receive formal art training or attend the Royal Academy Schools. Instead, he studied in the studios of his engraver father Frederick Christian Lewis and his uncles, the bookbinder Charles Lewis and painter George Robert Lewis.

The exhibition

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