The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting

Overview

With its unprecedented focus on the history of Orientalism in British art, this handsome book places the British within the story of how the genre was established in the 19th century—a story heretofore dominated by the French. Featuring both well-known and rarely seen paintings, together with sketches and photographs, this volume examines the work of British artists who engaged with Middle Eastern themes over three centuries, from the 1620s to the eclipse of the ...

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Overview

With its unprecedented focus on the history of Orientalism in British art, this handsome book places the British within the story of how the genre was established in the 19th century—a story heretofore dominated by the French. Featuring both well-known and rarely seen paintings, together with sketches and photographs, this volume examines the work of British artists who engaged with Middle Eastern themes over three centuries, from the 1620s to the eclipse of the Ottoman Empire in 1922.

Included are works by Joshua Reynolds, J. F. Lewis, W. H. Hunt, David Wilkie, John Singer Sargent, William Holman Hunt, J.M.W. Turner, Roger Fenton, Andrew Geddes, and Edward Lear. Many of their images are, or purport to be, the result of direct observation of actual places in the Middle East. The book spotlights numerous topics of timely cultural interest, including the cross-pollination of British and Islamic artistic traditions, as well as Western myths about the Islamic world in relation to artists’ actual experiences.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The study of Orientalism in Western art has been dominated by the works of French artists. Here, Tromans (art, design, & architecture, Kingston Univ., London) introduces the genesis and development of Orientalism in British art by examining various themes in Orientalist painting: locating the Orient, Orientalism and reform, and the themes that the artists chose to illustrate. In the first section, various scholars and curators contribute essays on, e.g., the art of John Frederick Lewis, artists overcoming Western fears of Islam, and Orientalist painting today. The second section features essays on travelers and sitters, Orientalism in perspective, harem and home, and Jerusalem. Throughout, the text is buttressed by a plethora of illustrations demonstrating the various themes explored by British artists. The artists have captured a traditional way of life, a world Western influences had not yet entered, that endured under the Ottoman Empire. The dress, the mode of living, and the panorama of Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Christians fill the pages. This volume is beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated. Recommended for public and university libraries.
—Martin Chasin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300138986
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Tromans is senior lecturer in art, design and architecture at Kingston University, London. Rana Kabbani is a writer and broadcaster based in Paris. Fatema Mernissi is a lecturer at the Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco, and is a research scholar at the University Institute for Scientific Research, in the same city. Christine Riding is curator of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art, Tate Britain. Emily Weeks is an independent scholar based in the United States, and a specialist in nineteenth-century Orientalist painting.

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