John Frederick Lewis (1805 - 1876)

The Entrance to the Hall of Ambassadors at the Alhambra, Granada Sold

Pencil and watercolour, heightened with white bodycolour, on blue-grey paper.
Indistinctly inscribed The Entrance of the Hall of Ambassa- at the lower right. Inscribed Mr. Charrington on the corner of the old mount.
270 x 373 mm. (10 5/8 x 14 3/4 in.)


The years Lewis spent in Spain, between 1832 and 1834, saw him producing numerous drawings, watercolours and lithographs of local sights, figures, costumes, buildings and landscapes. Spanish subjects dominated his exhibited output of finished watercolours for most of the succeeding years, as well as two volumes of lithographs published in 1835 and 1836, earning the artist the nickname ‘Spanish Lewis’. After a period of time in Madrid, he settled in Granada in Andalusia, where he stayed with his patron and friend Richard Ford at the Casa Sanchez, an old house on the grounds of the Alhambra palace.

Lewis was captivated by the Alhambra, and made a number of drawings of the Moorish architecture of the palace, with a view to publishing a series of lithographs on his return to England. The artist remained in Granada until 1834, when he moved to Seville. Many of his Spanish drawings were indeed reproduced as lithographs, appearing in Sketches and Drawings of the Alhambra, made during a residence in Granada in the Years 1833-4, published in 1835, and Lewis’s Sketches of Spain and Spanish Character, which was issued the following year.

Lewis’s drawings of the Alhambra have long been recognized as among the finest works of his Spanish period. The present sheet depicts the entrance to the largest and most important room in the Moorish palace and fortress of the Alhambra; the grand reception and throne room of the sultans known as the Hall of the Ambassadors.

A comparable drawing depicting the Court of the Lions in the Alhambra is in the collection of the Ackland Art Museum at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Other drawings by Lewis for the Alhambra lithographs are in the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the Fitzwiliam Museum in Cambridge.

A. W. Reus(?)
Sold by him to P. & D. Colnaghi, London, on 24 August 1951 for £201
Purchased from them on 26 September 1951 for £40 by N. D. Charrington, Dye House, Thursley, Surrey
Private collection.

John Frederick Lewis, Lewis’s Sketches and Drawings of the Alhambra, made during a Residence in Granada in the Years 1833-4, London, 1835, pl.9 (reproduced as a lithograph in colour).

John Frederick LEWIS

The Entrance to the Hall of Ambassadors at the Alhambra, Granada


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