The Lure of the East

British Orientalist Painting

Edited by Nicholas Tromans; With contributions by Rana Kabbani, Fatema Mernissi, Christine Riding, and Emily Weeks

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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.


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.


Yale Center for British Art (February 7 – April 27, 2008)

Tate Britain, London (June 4 – August 31, 2008)

Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey (October 2008 – January 2009)

Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (late February – April 2009)

"A particularly versatile text likely to appeal both to professional researchers as well as non-specialist enthusiasts. . . . This reader greatly enjoyed [Tromans's] volume and would highly recomend it to other readers. . . . Part history and part connoisseurship, part philosophy and part current events, this volume admirably sparks interest and fulfills expectations."—Tyler Griffith, British Scholar

"Tromans introduces the genesis and development of Orientalism in British art by examining various themes in Orientalist painting. . . . Throughout, the text is buttressed by a plethora of illustrations demonstrating the various themes explored by British artists. . . . This volume is beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated. Recommended for public and university libraries."—Library Journal

"British Orientalist painting now has its first standard scholarly reference. . . . Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice
ISBN: 9780300138986
Publication Date: April 9, 2008
Publishing Partner: Tate Publishing
224 pages, 9 x 12
11 b/w + 161 color illus.

Sales Restrictions: For sale in U.S. and Canada only
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