Edwin Longsden Long, Egyptian Beauty
01 work, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Egyptian Beauty, with Footnotes. #88

Henry Zaidan
3 min readApr 12, 2020

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Edwin Longsden Long, R.A., 1829–1891
Egyptian Beauty, c. 1875

Oil on paper laid on canvas
34 by 24.5cm., 13½ by 9½in.
Private collection

Long visited Cairo in 1875 during an extensive trip to Egypt and Syria which began in 1874. This was a turning point in his career when he began to paint scenes of Babylonian and Egyptian history rather than his earlier Spanish subject.

Edwin Longsden Long RA (12 July 1829–15 May 1891) was an English genre, history, biblical and portrait painter. Long was born in Bath, and was educated at Dr. Viner’s School in Bath. Adopting the profession of a painter, Long came to London and studied in the British Museum. He was subsequently a pupil in the school of James Mathews Leigh in Newman Street London, and practiced first as a portrait artist painting Charles Greville, Lord Ebury and others.

Long made the acquaintance of John Phillip RA, and accompanied him to Spain, where they spent much time. Long was greatly influenced by the paintings of Velasquez and other Spanish masters, and his earlier pictures, such as ‘La Posada’ (1864) and ‘Lazarilla and the blind beggar’ (1870), were painted under Spanish influence. His first important pictures were ‘The Suppliants’ (1872) and ‘The Babylonian marriage market’ (both subsequently purchased by Thomas Holloway). In 1874, he visited Egypt and Syria, and subsequently his work took a new direction. He became thoroughly imbued with middle-eastern archaeology and painted oriental scenes like ‘The Egyptian Feast’ (1877), ‘The Gods and their makers’ (1878) etc.

Long was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1870 and an academician (RA) in 1881. His pictures suited the taste and appealed to the religious sentiment of a large portion of the public, and their popularity was increased by a wide circulation of engravings. He consequently determined to exhibit his next pictures in a separate gallery of his own in Bond Street, London and there in 1883, and the following years, his ‘Anno Domini’ and ‘Zeuxis at Crotona’ met with great commercial success.

Long died from pneumonia resulting from influenza, at his home, “Kelston” in Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead, on 15 May 1891, in his sixty-second year. He was buried in West Hampstead Cemetery. More on Edwin Longsden Long

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Henry Zaidan

In my Blog is an Online collection of significant paintings from the 1st century to today; complete with art-history and artist bibliographies.