During the final quarter of the 19th century an increasing number of international fairs and expositions that showcased cultures and goods from around the world piqued Americans’ interest in the near and far East. Mowbray’s painting, which was included in the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, exemplifies this trend, as do the large vase inspired by Moorish designs and the fancy dress costume gown nearby.
Mowbray’s painting illustrates a scene from Irish poet Thomas Moore's epic romance, Lalla Rookh, in which a group of young maidens prepare for their princess' passage after her marriage. Originally published in 1817, Moore's poem was republished during the 1880s to much critical and popular acclaim. Although at first glance Mowbray’s painting seems to represent little more than a dreamy scene, it also exemplifies some of the era’s stereotypical views about Eastern cultures as lazy and exotic.
Place object was created: Greenpoint, NY
Measurements: height: 17.25 inches diameter: 9 inchesGift of Emma and Jay Lewis 2001.46
Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN