Orientalism is a subject that became increasing popular in the 19th century. Several Western artists travelled to the Middle East and North Africa in search of new and exotic subjects, which were truly in abundance in these hitherto largely unexplored lands. These artists became known as the Orientalists, and their works were much acclaimed in Victorian times. The exotic scenes of Islamic culture and architecture had not been seen before, and Orientalist paintings became highly regarded and sought after in Western Europe.


Darnley Fine Art is a specialist in 19th century Orientalist art and holds many fine works for sale by prominent artists such as Theodore Ralli, Carl Werner and Charles Theodore Frere. We are a leading specialist in the works of David Roberts, and always have a comprehensive collection of both subscription and first edition prints in stock.


The Orientalist movement in the 19th century really took off for artists from the west after a few changing factors allowed it to happen. Firstly after the Napoleonic Wars, Europe became a much safer place to travel around, also with the invention of steam travel and the railways, the Middle East became a lot easier to get to. Artists such as David Roberts, who spent two years travelling around Egypt, the Holy Land and Lebanon, whose work for the public back home could see for the first time what these places looked like. Or the German artist Carl Werner, whose sketches from his travels all over the Middle East produced many Oriental pictures, which are now important historical records. A French artist, Charles Theodore Frere, travelled around the Middle East and was at the opening of the Suez Canal. Many artists wanted to escape the confinements of the country they were from and explore the mystery of the East. Also, the bright colours were a welcome invite to the painter's palette. Artists such as Carl Werner and Tristram Ellis produced stunning detailed watercolours of the Orient; again they are records of a way of life as well as beautiful artworks. Our collection of paintings and prints are available to view both on our website and in our gallery in central London. 


Darnley Fine Art is one of the worlds leading specialist dealers in Orientalist Art.