Artist: John Frederick Lewis
Title: A Cairo Bazaar, 1875
Medium: Watercolor, heightened with body color and gum Arabic
A Cairo Bazaar, which was painted one year before John Frederick Lewis died. Highly detailed in execution, it teams with life and is reminiscent of the colorful, exotic city in which he had spent about 10 years of his life.
John Frederick Lewis had lived in a grand merchant’s house close to both the Mosque of Sultan Hassan and to the shady, narrow courtyards of the souk. In this watercolor a tall, elegantly dressed merchant laden with the fine treasures of the bazaar barters for an exquisitely embroidered cloth. In some ways, this figure can be seen as a mirror of the artist himself, who lived, according to William Thackery, like an ‘Oriental Prince’. After his visit to Cairo, Thackery wrote: Frederick is going about with a great beard and crooked sword, dressed up like an odious Turk.