London Art Week – “Eccentrics & Orientalists: The Lure of the East”

26th June-15th September
2nd Floor - 15 Old Bond Street
London W1S 4AX
United Kingdom

“Eccentrics & Orientalists: The Lure of the East”

2nd Floor – 15 Old Bond Street
London W1S 4AX
United Kingdom

“One of the most curious sights we saw amid these curiosities was the famous Mr. Montagu’, He had just arrived from the East, he had travelled through the Holy Land, Egypt, Armenia, &c. with the Old and New Testament in his hands, he had visited Mount Sinai, and flattered himself he had been on the very part of the rock where Moses spake face to face with God Almighty: his beard reached down to his breast, and the dress of his head was Armenian. He was in the most enthusiastick raptures with Arabia and the Arabs: his bed was the ground, his food rice, his beverage water, his luxury a pipe and coffee.”

Samuel Sharp, a grand tourist, 1767

 On the occasion of London Art Week, Summer 2023, Trinity Fine Art in partnership with Walter Padovani are proud to present “Eccentrics & Orientalists: The Lure of the East”.

The “East” as a source of fascination, a style and a concept for artistic as well as physical exploration has long held sway over the European imagination, from Marco Polo on the 14th century silk routes, the Bellini’s 16th century evocation of Alexandria, to the passion for “Chinoiserie” which held sway in the 18th century. However, it was Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign of 1798 which really ushered in an age of exploration and expansion which was mirrored in artistic trends in Europe at the time, most notably in Orientalist painting. Wealthy European collectors found much to admire in these Orientalist works, which provided them with a pleasurable frisson from the exoticism, luminous colours and perceived sensuality of these “farflung” lands, and a momentary escape from their modern urban lives.