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Watercolour - Interior of a school, Cairo
  • Interior of a school, Cairo
    Lewis, John Frederick RA POWCS, born 1804 - died 1876
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Interior of a school, Cairo

  • Object:

    Watercolour

  • Place of origin:

    Walton on Thames (made)

  • Date:

    1865 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lewis, John Frederick RA POWCS, born 1804 - died 1876 (Artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    watercolour

  • Museum number:

    68-1890

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case TOPIC, shelf 3J

In this scene depicted by Lewis, the Hoja or teacher is listening to his assistant rhythmically reciting the Quran (while beating time), as some children pay attention and others not. Some commentators have regarded the presence of a young girl as inauthentic, but young girls were able to attend Quran schools, according to the artist Charles de Tournemine, the scholar Edward Lane and the translator Richard Burton. Certainly not all women were illiterate, and some female descendants of the prophet were noted for their ability to read and recite the scriptures.

Physical description

A water and body colour painting showing the interior of an Egyptian Quran school, the children reciting under the gaze of their teacher, with a cat and pigeons in the foreground.

Place of Origin

Walton on Thames (made)

Date

1865 (made)

Artist/maker

Lewis, John Frederick RA POWCS, born 1804 - died 1876 (Artist)

Materials and Techniques

watercolour

Dimensions

Height: 47.1 cm, Width: 60 cm

Object history note

Purchased 1890

Descriptive line

Interior of a school, Cairo, by John Frederick Lewis, water and body colour, 1865

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Nicholas Tromans ed., The Lure of the East. British Orientalist Painting London: Tate Publishing, 2008. ISBN: 978 1 85437 733 3.

Labels and date

John Frederick Lewis 1804/5-1876
Interior of a School, Cairo
1865

The teacher is listening to a pupil repeat his lesson. Some children pay attention and others not. Some commentators have regarded the presence of a girl as inauthentic, but according to various travellers, girls were able to attend school when they were very young.

Watercolour and bodycolour

Purchased 1890
Museum no. 68-1890 []
John Frederick Lewis 1805-1876
Interior of a school, Cairo
Watercolour

Lewis perfected a technique of using dense watercolour to render in exquisite detail brilliantly coloured scenes of oriental life. Here he shows the interior of a religious school for young children learning to read and recite the Quran. Lewis lived in Cairo from 1840 to 1850.

Purchased 1890 68-1890 [January 2003]

Materials

Watercolour; Bodycolour; Stiff paper

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Schools

Categories

Historic Cairo

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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