This watercolour shows a panoramic view of the Tagus from the British Legation in Lisbon. The slightly curved line of buildings in the foreground suggests that Lewis may have used a 'Claude glass' to help him paint the view. These convex lenses were popular with landscape artists and were used to reflect the view onto paper. Ironically, in order to make use of the Claude glass, the artist would have had to sit with his back to the very view he was painting.
George Lennard Lewis was a member of a family of artists. He was the cousin of the better known Victorian artist John Frederick Lewis. His father George Robert Lewis was also a professional watercolour painter. Lewis exhibited his work regularly in London at the Royal Academy from 1848 to 1898 and also at the Royal Institution and at the Royal Society of British Artists. At He lived at 26 Upper Park Road, Hampstead in London. Lewis apparently travelled widely in Europe, but his favourite subject seems to have been picturesque scenes of towns in France. His wife, who painted figure subjects and views in Brittany, presumably accompanied him on some of his painting trips.
View of the Tagus and Tower of Belém from the British Legation, Lisbon
Watercolour over pencil heightened with body colour and scratching out, on paper
height: 58.50 cm, width: 115.00 cm
Purchased from Sotheby's, 30 November 2000
bl: Lennard Lewis. 1880. ; on label on backboard: Lisbon / View of the Tagus and Tower of Belem / from the British Legation / (H.M.SS. Minotaur, Agincourt / Northumberland, Achilles / and Salamis) / Lennard Lewis / Pembroke Lodge / 26 Upper Park Road / Hampstead / Sept [remaining text illegible]
French private collection; with a French dealer; by whom sold through Sotheby's, London, on 30 November 2000 (Lot 352); from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
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