Frank Dillon (1823-1909)
Oil on Canvas
Signed & Dated 1853
Ref: Benezit vol 4, page 590
Frank Dillon was born in 1823 in London.
His father was a businessman in the silk business and a collector of watercolours; it is undoubtedly from him that Frank had his early taste for such a type.
At the age of 22 he enters to The Royal Academy School where he was a pupil of James Holland, a master in this discipline, Frank also studied oil painting.
He started exhibiting at the Royal Academy at 1850 until 1903, a remarkable consistent achievement for over 50 years, when one considers he spent many years in Egypt with other experiences travelling to Japan, Norway, Spain and Italy notable as well as other parts of the Europe.
He also exhibited at the British Institution on numerous occasions, he was invited to the Universal Exhibitions in 1862 and 1878 in London to exhibit his Egyptian and Japanese paintings, notably his views of the Nile and Sphinx and the Colosses of memon and the construction of the Assouan barricades. He was a notable painter of watercolours and this medium he used to make sketches on location and then in his studio execute important oil paintings. The royal academy exhibits of the Nile and Egypt numbering 35 out of 47 Royal Academic paintings.
Our painting illustrate a brilliant use of colours with the sun in late afternoon, the warm purple tones with the reflection of the Mediterranean sea and coastline of Egypt with the entrance of the Nile and figures relaxing under the palms enjoying the fine views towards the coast.
He continued painting until his death in 1909 in London, the mystique of the Arab culture and way of life recorded to perfection with an academic quality which perhaps only John Frederick Lewis being his only notable rival. His paintings are exhibited at the museums of Hamburg London (Victoria and Albert museum and Cairo museum.
National Dictionary of Biography; Briony Llewellyn, “Frank Dillon and Victorian Pictures of Old Cairo Houses” UR, 3, 1984; Briony Llewellyn, the Orient Observed, (The Searight Collection), Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1989.