Edwin Longesden Long
British, 1829 - 1891
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Born in Bath and the son of an artist, Long began his career as a portraitist. In 1857 he visited Spain on the advice of John Phillip, a painter of Spanish subjects. He was to make two further visits and began exhibiting Spanish genre subjects, the first of which was Bravo el Toro (1859) which records a moment of tension in a Spanish bullfight.
After visiting Egypt and Syria in 1874, Long's work took a new direction, and he began to produce large historical works illustrating passages from the bible and the customs of the ancient civilisations of Greece, Rome and Egypt. The first of these canvases, The Babylonian Marriage Market (1875), was a great success and many were fascinated by its careful archaeological detail. Long's large canvases from ancient history were characterised by a knowledge and accuracy of architectural features and ancient artefacts. He was the immediate predecessor of the High Victorian Classicists chief among whom were Alma-Tadema, Leighton and Poynter.
Long was elected ARA in 1876 and RA in 1881. In the late 1880s, the dealers Agnews commissioned Long to create a series of pictures illustrating types of national beauty, the head of a black woman, Jamaica, and of a swarthy beauty, Ancient Cyprus appearing in 1887. The popularity of Long's work enabled the artist to commission Richard Norman Shaw RA to design two houses for him in Hampstead.
A selection of art exhibitions which have featured this