James Tissot was from Nantes, where his parents were in the textile business. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and was a pupil of Lamothe and Ingres. His early work is often set in the Middle Ages but by c.1865 he was painting modern life. He was in the National Guard during the Siege of Paris and was probably involved in the Commune in 1871, the year he moved to London. He made drawings for Thomas Gibson Bowles, owner of ‘Vanity Fair’ and, in the late 1870s, had exhibitions throughout the UK. After his mistress’s death in 1882 he returned to France and experienced a religious conversion, which led him to paint biblical scenes and visit the Middle East. He is primarily remembered for depictions of Parisian and London society.
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