British Watercolors of the Eastern Mediterranean

Jul. 18, 2009Dec. 1, 2009
Huntington Art Gallery, Works on Paper Room

By the end of the first quarter of the 19th century, watercolor paintings of the western European landscape had become familiar to British collectors, who began to seek new and different imagery with which to decorate their houses. Artists were eager to supply this demand. Improvements in transportation across Europe and the Mediterranean opened up new areas for artistic exploration, such as Eastern Europe, Greece, and the Near East. The fashion for exotic and orientalized subjects meant that British watercolorists who traveled there found a ready market for their works at home. The 15 pictures from The Huntington’s permanent collection on display in “British Watercolors of the Eastern Mediterranean” illustrate the great variety of style and the vastly different approaches employed by artists such as Edward Lear (1812–1888), John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876), and David Wilkie (1785–1841).