"Fine Arts: Royal Academy." Athemaeum 1593 (8 May 1858): 596-598. Excerpt.

As for Mr. J. F. Lewis, he must paint with etching-needles, so thready are his coloured tissues, so perfect his embroideries, sometimes a littl epinched and dry, and warped and mean, but generally beautiful and matchlessly honest. Mr. Lewis has a sense of humour and of beauty, of drawing and of colour, thoroughly Eastern, new and fresh as a daguerreotype, and fit to produce as evidence. His pictures are, A Constantinople Flower Girl (51), a masterpiece of floral detail;--A Kibab Shop, Scutari (101), a strange latticed den, the shopkeeper sleepily tranquil and heedless. The winking Turk, who looks as if he had been indulging in unholy raki, is full of humour. The goats and pigeons are well drawn and delicate in colour;--An Arab of the Desert of Sinai (114), kingly and grave, with his brown bowl of goat's milk;--Inmate of the Hhareem, Cairo (112), a very beautiful slave-girl in a dark blue jacket and red shawl girdle, her eyes dancing with love and fun; and, lastly, Interior of a Mosque, at Afternoon Prayer (245). Mr. Lewis reigns in quite a special regoin of Art. May his shadow never be less!

. . . Mr. W. C. Thomas improves, though still cold and mistaken in colour; there is a nice contemplative exotic sort of poetry in his Boccaccio in Naples (600), though it is only a troubador sort of man in purple yellow, with his back to a square pillar, playing on the theorbo, with his back to a view of the Bay of Naples. Thought and reflection, however small, always tell in a painting. Mr. Thomas painted this study with an evident prevailing sense of a great mind over him.


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Copyright © 2000 Thomas J. Tobin.

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