Watts Gallery – John Frederick Lewis: Facing Fame

9 July – 3 November 2019

Friends free

This monographic exhibition on the nineteenth-century artist, John Frederick Lewis (1804-1876), will feature a wide variety of vivid and detailed paintings created by the artist during his travels in Europe and the Middle East.

Throughout his career, Lewis travelled extensively. Early visits to Scotland were followed by time spent in Germany, Italy and Spain. After visiting Greece, Constantinople and Bursa, Lewis continued on towards

Egypt in 1841. This journey was a defining moment; it was Lewis’s move to the Islamic quarters of Cairo that significantly shaped both his creative practice and the artistic identity he projected throughout the rest of his career. This exhibition will examine Lewis’s continually evolving and experimental self-fashioning – both during his travels and back home in London – exploring the conflicts that exist between his varying personas, from leader of the art establishment to eccentric recluse.


19 November 2019 – 23 February 2020

Friends free

Celebrated for his career as an official war artist and commercially successful portraitist, Irish-born painter, Sir William Orpen KBE RA (1878 – 1931), is known for his rapid and expressive painting style. Orpen was, however, meticulous when rendering the human form. Featuring a selection of striking portraits alongside closely observed pencil studies, this exhibition will present a unique insight into Orpen’s artistic process, challenging the perception that his technique was spontaneous and impulsive.

Inspired by the significance of the artist’s studio to the Artists’ Village, this exhibition will illuminate Orpen’s artistic practice through an exploration of ‘Oriel’, his London studio-home. Exhibiting, for the first time, original studio materials alongside representations of the studio, ‘Oriel’ will come alive in our temporary exhibition space to convey the artist’s evolving and experimental treatment of light, space and materials.

Watts Contemporary Gallery will feature an exhibition of works by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 10 January – 23 February. Sir William Orpen was President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 1924 – 1930.

Tags: art, frederick lewis, islamic quarters of cairo, scotland, watts gallery

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