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John Frederick Lewis, RA

Self-Censorship in the Harem Paintings of J.F. Lewis

by Elizabeth Malcolm

Art History Senior Thesis - Hartwick College, May 1997



1768 Royal Academy founded.

1779 Frederick Christian Lewis (father) born in London. Engraver; painter; exhibited at Royal Academy, British Institution, Society of British Artists, and Old Water- Colour Society. Appointed to the courts of George IV and William IV. Dies 1856.

1782 George Robert Lewis (paternal uncle) born in London. Painter; Portraitist; Exhibited at R.A. Dies 1871.

1803 Sir Edwin Landseer born in the same house as Lewis will be born in two years later. Fathers both engravers; sons both painters of animals.

1805 British Institution and the Old Water-Colour Society founded.

John Frederick Lewis born July 14 at 88 Queen Anne Street East(now 33 Foley Street), London. Painter; Exhibited R.A., B.I., S.B.A., O.W.C.S.

1812 Frederick Christian 'Indian' Lewis, Jr. born in London. Dies 1888.

1820 Had first painting, Morning - Ploughing exhibited at British Institution at age 15. Sketched animals and backgrounds for Sir Thomas Lawrence's paintings for one year.

1821 First exhibited at the Royal Academy.

1824 Society of British Artists founded.

Game Keepers Deer Shooting (B.I.)

1826 George Lennard Lewis, R.B.A (cousin) born in London. Painter; Exhibited at R.A., R.I., R.B.A.

Lewis exhibits fourteen paintings each at R.A. and B.I.

1827 Made an Associate of the O.W.C.S. on March 30. Set up studio at 21 St John's Wood Road, London. Left for Europe in June: Bruges, Black Forest, Neuhausen, Switzerland (Lucerne, Thun, Geneva), Montreux, Val d'Aosta, Venice.

1829 Made a full Member of the O.W.C.S. June 1. Traveled with F.C. Lewis Sr. in Devonshire.

1830 Traveled two years in Scotland: influenced by David Wilkie (1785-1841) and friends with David Roberts (1796-1864).

1832 Began two years of travel in Spain: Madrid (copied paintings in Prado), Toledo, Granada (studies of the Alhambra), Cordova, Seville.

1835 Published Sketches and Drawings of the Alhambra.

1836 Published Lewis's Sketches of Spain and Spanish Character.

1837 Began his extended travels (14 years away from England) with a winter in Paris.

1838 Visited Florence and Naples. Shipwrecked at Mola da Gaeta on route from Naples to Malta. Resided in Rome for two years where he perhaps saw work by Ingres who was the Director of the French Academy at the Villa Medici. (Ingres' Odalisque with the Slave 1839-40)

1840 Left for the East: Albania, Gulf of Corinth (near death of fever), Athens, Constantinople.

1841 November: left for Egypt and settled in Cairo for ten years.

Easter Day at Rome (O.W.C.S.)

1843 Visited Mt. Sinai and travelled the Nile to Nubia.

1844 William Makepeace Thackeray visited Lewis in Egypt. Visit recounted in Eastern Sketches: A Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo.

1847 Marries Marian Harper (aged 20, from Hampton, Middlesex) in Alexandria, May 8. She often modelled for Lewis.

1850 Sent The Hhareem to pacify the O.W.C.S and retain membership: first contribution since 1841.

1851 Returned to London: 6 Upper Hornton Villas, Campden Hill.

1852 The Arab Scribe, Cairo

1853 Royal Scottish Academy acquired sixty-four copies of old masters by Lewis: now in the National Gallery of Scotland,

Edinburgh. (Masaccio, Lippi, Ghirlandaio, Velazquez)

1854 Moved to The Holme at Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

1855 Elected president of the O.W.C.S. on November 30 to fill the vacancy created by Copley Fielding's death on March 13.

1856 A Frank Encampment in the Desert of Mount Sinai (O.W.C.S.)

1857 Exhibition of 'Art Treasures' in Manchester: Lewis attended as President of O.W.C.S.

Hareem Life, Constantinople (O.W.C.S.)

1858 Resigned presidency and membership of the O.W.C.S., February 8.

Life in the Harem, Cairo

1859 Elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, February 1.

An Eastern Girl Carrying a Tray

1865 Elected a full Member of the Royal Academy to fill vacancy left by David Roberts's death.

A Turkish School in the Vicinity of Cairo (R.A.)

In the Bey's Garden, Asia Minor

1869 An Intercepted Correspondence, Cairo (R.A.)

1871 Lilium Auratum

1872 The Prayer of Faith

1873 Indoor Gossip, Cairo (R.A. 1874)

Outdoor Gossip, Cairo (R.A. 1874)

The Reception

1874 W. Britten engaged to help Lewis finish some paintings.

1876 The Siesta

Retired Member of the Royal Academy. Dies August 14.

1906 Marian Lewis dies.

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