The Young Lion: Early Drawings by John Frederick Lewis RA (1804 – 1876)
Until 26 October 2008
In the Tennant Room
John Frederick Lewis (1804 – 1876) is best known for his glittering scenes of oriental life inspired by a decade living in Cairo. As a young artist in London, however, Lewis showed great promise as a painter and draughtsman of animals. His work was on a par with that of his childhood friend Edwin Landseer, who was to become the foremost animal painter of the Victorian age.
John Frederick Lewis RA, Two Drawings of the Head of a Lion (detail), c.1820. Black and white chalk on brown paper
© Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photograph: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.
The Young Lion charts Lewis's progress from his first attempts at capturing animal features to assured studies for paintings and engravings. On display are his drawings of lions and exotic beasts in London’s popular Exeter Exchange ‘menagerie’ as well as sketches of landscapes and farm animals. The drawings have been chosen from a group in the Royal Academy’s collection and are being exhibited for the first time.
Lewis grew up in a creative environment with family members including engravers, book-binders and painters. A selection of their portraits and drawings are also on view, offering fascinating insights into the artistic culture and social history of the early Nineteenth Century.
The Tennant Room is one of the John Madejski Fine Rooms
1pm-4.30pm Tuesday to Friday
10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday
Free gallery talks
A free introduction to the display every Sunday at 2pm.
Free curators’ talks
Join the exhibition’s curators as they introduce the works on display.
Sally Doust: Saturday 5 July at 2 pm
Briony Llewellyn: Thursday 24 July at 2pm
Click here to download the Younger Visitors Guide (476 KB)
Workshop: Drawing Animals in London Zoo
Wednesday 16 July
Inspired by the exhibition, Jeanette Barnes leads this practical workshop in drawing animals
London Zoo; 10.30am–12.30pm or 2.30– 4.30pm
Own materials required.
Free, but pre-booking essential. Tel. 020 7300 5839
The current exhibition of watercolours by Robert Hills and his contemporaries at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge features animal studies by J.F. Lewis along with drawings by James Ward, David Cox and Peter de Wint. For further information see:
‘The Field Calls Me to Labour’: Watercolours of nineteenth-century rural Britain by Robert Hills (1769-1844) and his contemporaries,
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 27 May to 7 September 2008.