Eastern Questions: New Perspectives on British Orientalism

16 - 17 October 2019

A collaborative two-day conference at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village and Royal Holloway, University of London.

Book your tickets: http://bit.ly/Eastern-Questions

This interdisciplinary symposium, a collaboration between Watts Gallery Artists' Village (WG-AV) and Royal Holloway (University of London), aims to explore new perspectives on the intersection between Orientalism and visual culture across the nineteenth century. This two-day conference coincides with John Frederick Lewis: Facing Fame, the latest exhibition at WG-AV.

The conference will take place over two days 16 – 17 October 2019 at two venues:

16 October 2019: Watts Gallery – Artists' Village (Compton, Surrey, GU3 1DQ)

17 October 2019: Royal Holloway, University of London, (Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX)

Each day will include 7 twenty minute papers, which explore the visual material of the Orient in the contexts of transculturation, imaginative geographies, and cultural border crossing in both directions.

Alongside the works on display within John Frederick Lewis: Facing Fame, the collection of so-called 'uncomfortable pictures' at Royal Holloway (including Edwin Long's Babylonian Marriage Market) will act as a catalyst for wide-ranging debates around Orientalism's place within British scholarship today. In addition to 20 minutes papers, there will be a series of pop-up debates that will take place within the gallery spaces, which respond to the following key works:

John Frederick Lewis, In the Bezestein: El Khan Khalil, 1860, watercolour, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery (at WGAV)

John Frederick Lewis, In the Bey's Garden, 1865, oil on panel, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston (at WGAV)

Edwin Long, The Babylonian Marriage Market (1875), Royal Holloway

David Roberts, Pilgrims Approaching Jerusalem (1841), Royal Holloway

Provisional Conference Programme Download

Conference prices:

  • Standard: £45 for one day, £70 for both.
  • Postgraduate Student/Unwaged: £25 for one day, £40 for both.

Note: Prices include lunch, tea and coffee refreshments and a wine reception. Entry to the exhibition is also included in the price.

Book your tickets: http://bit.ly/Eastern-Questions

How to Find Us:



For WGAV, a shuttle service will be available from Guildford Station.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Abbie Latham (curatorialtrainee@wattsgallery.org.uk) if you have any questions.

This event is kindly supported by the British Art Research School (BARS), University of York, the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) and the Association for Studies in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE).

Image: John Frederick Lewis, The Attendant on the Bath, 1854. Oil on panel. Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, Preston.