Charles Théodore Frère was born in Paris on 21st June 1814. As a young man he showed a strong inclination towards painting as a career, despite his father’s hopes that he would become a musician. He studied under the landscape artist Jules Coignet (1798-1860) and then under Camille Roqueplan (1803-1855). On completing his apprenticeship he travelled extensively in France, exhibiting at the Salon for the first time in 1834, and again in 1835 and 1836.
A visit to Algeria in 1837 changed the course of his life. He exhibited his first Orientalist painting at the Salon in 1839 and from then on painted only scenes of the Muslim world. He stayed in Algeria for a year, painting several large pictures, which were later bought by King Wurttemberg. He appears to have travelled almost annually to Algeria until about 1850. In 1851 he journeyed further East, stopping at Malta, Greece and Smyrna on his way to Constantinople where he stayed for eighteen months. He then went on to Syria, Palestine, Nubia and Egypt, where he had a studio in Cairo.
After three years travelling Frère returned to Paris laden with material for future paintings. He took part in the Paris Universal Exhibitions of 1855, 1867 and 1878. He made his last journey to Egypt in 1869 for the inauguration of the Suez Canal in the company of Empress Eugénie and her entourage.
Frère's talent and appeal lies in his ability to create atmospheric scenes, for example Bedouin encampments silhouetted against dawn and sunset views.
Frère died in Paris on 24th March 1888.
Nancy (Arabes au Repos), Bagnères (La Caravane), Laval (Vue de Karnac & Ruines de Louqsor), Reims (Caravane Traversant le Désert d'Arabie), Bourges (Le Soir sur les Bords du Nil), Mulhouse (Chameliers au Caire & Rue au Caire), New York (MetropolitanArt Museum), Chicago, Minneapolis
Benezit Vol. IV p517 (1976)
Thieme Becker p427 (1927)
Lynne Thornton 'The Orientalists', ACR Edition, 1983, pp52-54
Edward Angelo Goodall, R.W.S. was born the 8th of June 1819. He was the eldest son of Edward Goodall, the well known line engraver and his brother was the celebrated Royal Academy painter Frederick Goodall.
His first oil painting was a Guyana subject which impressed Turner who was on the managing committee at the Royal Academy. He had the picture hung in a first rate place where it received considerable admiration.
He began exhibiting in the Royal Academy in 1841 and continued until 1884. In 1870 he went to Egypt with his brother Frederick and on one day while sketching the views of ancient Memphis, a woman overbalanced herself in filling her pitcher in the river. Seeing this, he jumped into the Nile and with much effort rescued her from drowning. The next day she received several offers of marriage, being considered under "Divine protection."
During this period, Queen Victoria had taken an interest in his work and gave him permission to paint from any of the windows in the palace.
At a dinner held at Goodall's home, several artists were invited including John Dixon the engineer. Conversation eventually centered on Cleopatra's Needle in Egypt and John Dixon suggested that it be brought to England. He said that if he had the money he would do it himself. Shortly thereafter, Erasmus Wilson called on John Dixon and offered the money to bring the obelisk over. This was eventually done where it was placed in London.
Willem de Famars Testas
Dutch 1834 - 1896
The New Stallion
Oil on board, signed lower left
Image size: 11 x 14 inches (28 x 35.5 cm)
Orientalist giltwood frame (Image below)
After his return to Utrecht he became the most important Dutch Orientalist. He received international attention for his realistic paintings and watercolours. In 1868 he made another great journey through Egypt, Palestine and Syria . After his return he moved to Brussels, where the orientalist market was much more bouyant. When the market for these paintings also declined there, he focused on history pieces. He also made illustrations for several books.
Early 19th Century
A Turkish Garden Party
Oil on panel
Image size: 16 x 20 inches
Early 19th Century
Portrait of Hassan El Berberi
Image size: 17 x 14 inches
Original Empire frame
This portrait has been long thought of to depict Hassan El Berberi, who was the primary keeper of the famous giraffe sent to King Charles X of France as a gift from the Ottoman Pasha, Mehmet Ali of Egypt. El Berberi, who was of Bedouin origin, traveled with the giraffe from Alexandria to France, arriving in Marseilles by ship on 31 October 1826. After resting in Marseilles for the winter, they began the long walk to Paris, stopping in towns along the way with much fanfare, given she was the first giraffe seen in Europe in over 300 years. After a 41-day journey, she was presented to the King in Paris on 8 July 1827 and settled in at the Jardin des Plantes.
Hassan El-Berberi remained in Paris until late 1827 before returning to Egypt in poor health, leaving his Sudanese assistant to care for the animal. The dating of the painting to August 1827 would suggest the picture was painted in Paris, during Hassan’s sojourn there.
Mehmet Ali also gave giraffes as diplomatic gifts to Emperor Francis I of Austria and King George IV of England; the latter gift was the subject of Jacques Laurent Agasse's Nubian Giraffe in the Royal Collection
Late 18th Century
Portrait of a Gentleman in Levantine Dress
Oil on canvas
Image size: 19¾ x 16½ inches
Carved gilt frame
1865 - c1907
The Camel Trail
Oil on board
Image size: 7 x 20 inches
1844 - 1922
The Golden Horn, Constantinople
Watercolour and gouache, inscribed and dated 1879
Image size: 14 ½ x 25 ½ inches
Acid free wash mount and gold leaf frame
In 1862, Ellis went to King's College, London, where during his second year he earned the highest distinction in the Applied Sciences department in the college's history. He won all the scholarships offered by the college and was awarded the Associateship of King's College after only two years' study, in recognition of his exceptional achievements.After university, Ellis completed a pupilage under the railway engineer Sir John Fowler and became a partner in a firm of engineers.
1844 - 1922
Cairo from the Nile
Watercolour and gouache, signed and dated 1897
Image size: 14 x 27 ½ inches
Acid free wash mount and gold leaf frame
Ellis was born at Great Malvern in 1844, the son of the mathematician and philologist Alexander John Ellis. He spent his early years in Bath, Clifton and Edinburgh, after which he was sent to school at Queenwood College in Hampshire. At school, he excelled in mathematics, and while he did study drawing, he disliked the emphasis placed on copying rather than original art.
In 1862, Ellis went to King's College, London, where during his second year he earned the highest distinction in the Applied Sciences department in the college's history. He won all the scholarships offered by the college and was awarded the Associateship of King's College after only two years' study, in recognition of his exceptional achievements.
After university, Ellis completed a pupilage under the railway engineer Sir John Fowler and became a partner in a firm of engineers.
After several years, Ellis decided that his calling lay in art. As he had sufficient means to support himself, he abandoned engineering and devoted his time to oil painting.Several of Ellis's early oil paintings were shown at the Royal Academy. Despite this, he felt his technique needed improvement and moved to Paris to become a student of Léon Bonnat, practicing 12 hours a day. Ellis was one of 170 students from 43 countries in Bonnat's studio at the time, but seems to have developed a friendship with his teacher, who advised him to focus on history painting. Ellis, however, was too interested in the outdoors to accept Bonnat's suggestion.After his studies in Paris, Ellis began to travel to sketch foreign scenes.
In 1878, he spent six months in Cyprus, then under British occupation, where he contracted a fever. Despite this he returned with 50–60 watercolor sketches that were all sold to a dealer after their exhibition in Bond Street in April 1879. This success encouraged him to plan a more ambitious trip, and so on 1 October 1879 he boarded a steamship for Alexandria with the aim of visiting Syria, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia. Ellis succeeded in traveling from the Syrian coast, overland to Diyarbakır in southeast Turkey and then by raft down the Tigris to Mosul and Baghdad in Iraq. From Baghdad, Ellis traveled overland to Palmyra and Damascus in Syria and then to Beirut, Lebanon. After his return, he showed about 90 sketches from his travels, and sold them immediately.
Ellis also wrote a two-volume illustrated account of his trip, "On a Raft, and Through the Desert", which was published in 1881.Ellis's next trip was to Egypt in the spring of 1882. He spent three weeks at the Pyramids, where he stayed with the Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, and left the country in May, just before the massacre at Alexandria on 11 June 1882 that precipitated the Anglo-Egyptian War. Several years later, Ellis made another trip to the eastern Mediterranean, where he spent time in Athens, and had three sketches selected by George I of Greece. After this, Ellis made three visits to the Arctic, including to Spitzbergen, and also returned to the Mediterranean.
In 1896, Ellis was married and living comfortably in London.
Robert George Talbot Kelly
1861 - 1934
Feluccas on the Nile
Watercolour, signed and dated 1908
Image size: 15 x 32 ½ inches
Original gilt frame
Born in Birkenhead on 18th January 1861, Talbot Kelly was a landscape painter of mainly Eastern subjects. The son of the Dublin born landscape artist Robert George Kelly he grew up in a large family with three brothers and seven sisters. In 1876 he left school to work at a Liverpool firm of cotton brokers. Meanwhile his parents encouraged him to develop his talents for painting and music and he soon began studying art under his father, sharing his Liverpool studio and exhibiting under the name Robert George Kelly, Jnr.
In the early 1880s his employers sent him on a cruise to recuperate from a period of overwork. This marked a turning point in his career - the sight of foreign lands filled him with a desire to travel and paint and in 1882 he resigned from his job and embarked on his new career in painting. To avoid confusion with his father’s work, he adopted an old family name of Talbot and henceforth became known as Talbot Kelly.
His early travels concentrated on North Africa - Morocco, Egypt, and probably Algeria. He debuted at the Royal Academy with A Morocco Landscape in 1888. Two years later he showed an Egyptian scene entitled The House of Prayer. Although the whole region interested him it was Egypt that particularly fired his imagination and which was to become his adopted home until the First World War - he established a studio in Cairo and became fluent in Arabic.
He was very interested in the Bedouin way of life and often spent time with them. He evidently had much sympathy and respect for them and they, equally, seem to have respected Talbot Kelly, for he often wrote of the generosity and kindess they displayed towards him, for example how they would bring him something to drink while he was painting, and shared their meals with him. His paintings from this period, almost all watercolours, were exercises in patient observation and immaculate control. He depicted scenes from everyday life but in a distinct style that caught the reverberation of light and the incredible clearness of the atmosphere.
Talbot Kelly endured harsh conditions in order to obtain the true colours of the desert - blinding light, oppressive heat, sandstorms and flies. He would continually dampen his paper until it was saturated before applying a single coat of paint. In spite of all his difficulties, however, his desert views are amongst the most interesting of his work. An excellent watercolourist, he achieved beautiful atmospheric effects by subtly blending delicate tints of pink, yellow, pale blue and violet. His style and colouring clearly influenced another Englishartist, Augustus Osborne Lamplough. Amongst Talbot Kelly's favourite themes are camel riders travelling through rocky terrains, Bedouins marching in the oppressive heat and light of the desert, and dhows on the Nile.
Following his election as a full member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1892, Talbot Kelly had become highly regarded and his works commanded high prices. However, he sought to supplement his income by book illustration. In 1902 he published his first book entitled Egypt, Painted and Described which which was illustrated with his own watercolours, as was his second book, Burma which was published in 1905 following a request from the Burmese Government for him to visit their country. He also wrote for newspapers, including three articles for New York’s The Century Magazine in 1897 and 1898 in which he described his time in Egypt and his various adventures there.
He was a member of several societies including The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours (1908), The Royal British Colonial Society of Artists (1910), The Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal British Academy. Most of Talbot Kelly’s career was concentrated on Egypt, apart from trips to the Italian lakes and towards the end of his life, Europe - particularly France. At the height of his career he was receiving regular commissions from various dignitaries and members of the aristocracy who visited his studio in Cairo as part of their tour of Egypt.
His reputation was further enhanced when his London studio was visited by Queen Mary and other members of the Royal Family.After the First World War he was unable to return to Egypt on account of ill health, but he continued to work and exhibit until his death on 30th December 1934 in London.Talbot Kelly’s work was greatly appreciated in England, exhibiting at the principal London galleries from 1885 - the Leicester Gallery and the Fine Arts Society held regular one-man shows of his work. In addition he exhibited six works at The Royal Academy from 1888 to 1901, including a view of the Pyramids, twelve works at Suffolk Street and many others in London and the provinces. He is also represented in several public collections at home and abroad.
Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead (On the Nile, 1903; A Nile Village, 1911)Glasgow Museum (Au Pays Desert et Sans Eau)Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (The Flight of the Khalifa after his Defeat at the Battle of Omdurman)