Old Damascus Jew's Quarter or Gathering Citrons
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Inspired by his 1873 trip to Damascus, this painting presents the architectural styles of the Middle East which would have been appealingly foreign to many of Leighton’s British viewers. Leighton actually wrote home to his father of the ‘lemon and myrtle trees rising tall and slim out of the marble floors’ The three female characters, two collecting lemons from a tree and one watching from the right, are dwarfed in size by the tall building that surrounds the courtyard in which they stand. The building is completed in sandstone yellow, deep oranges and a lapis lazuli blue. Many of the tiles are patterned in oriental styles, showing to the artist’s public his knowledge of the newly accessible east so different to the culture and architecture of Victorian Britain. The figures are dressed in flowing clothes very different to the constraining outfits worn by British women at the time.