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American Orientalist Painter Henry Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928)

Henry Siddons Mowbray was born in Alexandria, Egypt, where his father, John Henry Siddons, was a representative of a British bank. He died of a sunstroke soon after Harry's birth. His mother returned to England, then went to America to stay with a married sister. At the age of five, Henry lost his mother - she died in a kitchen accident: she burnt to death in a kerosene spill. The young boy then was adopted by his aunt's family, the Mowbrays.
 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Arcadia"

In 1869, the family moved to North Adams, MA, where, in 1877, Henry met a landscape painter Alfred C. Howland from Williamstown and became his student. By the end of 1878, he was already in Paris, where he stayed 7 years.
He worked at Leon Bonnat's studio, made a trip to Spain to study Velazquez. In 1880, his painting Young Bacchus was accepted at the Salon. Three years later, he was supporting himself as a genre painter. He met Jean-Leon Gerome, and often visited his atelier. Soon he painted small oriental pieces and a dealer took interest in him ordering more harem scenes.

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Fleur de Luce"

In 1885, he spent winter in Algiers and by the end of the year he left Paris to return to America. He set up a studio in New York and another one in the Berkshires spending his summers there. He had an important patron, Thomas B.Clark, the New York collector. Mowbray also gave classes at the Art Students League until 1901.

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Idle Hours". 1895

In 1886, he joined the Society of American Artists where he became friends with John Singer Sargent, Oliver Lafarge, Abbot Thayer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
In 1892, Mowbray got his first mural commission for the Athletic Club's summer house, he did the decorations in the C.P.Huntington mansion in New York City and worked as illustatrator for a few American magazines.
During WWI Mowbray worked on several Red Cross committees and had been an important presidential appointee on the National Commission of Fine Arts for many years. {American orientalists By Gerald M. Ackerman}

 Henry Siddons Mowbray  "A Game of Chess"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Floreal"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Two Women"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Rose Harvest" 1887

Henry Siddons Mowbray Portrait of Mrs. J. Carroll Beckwith

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Springtime"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "The Harem"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "The Calenders"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Studio Lunch", c.1883

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Iridescence"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Harem Scene"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray

Henry Siddons Mowbray  "Bacchanal I, Autumn", "Bacchanal II, Spring"

Henry Siddons Mowbray "The Marriage of Persephone"

 Henry Siddons Mowbray "Among the Blossoms"


  1. I love orientalist art but I hadn't heard of this painter. I love his stuff.

  2. Mowbray was fortunate that he met absolutely famous and much loved orientalist Jean-Leon Gerome, and often visited his atelier. I saw "fortunate" because even talented artists need a guide, mentor or patron.

    I can see why a dealer would be interested in ordering harem scenes from Mowbray. Even if he had never been in a real harem in his life, the scenes look rich and colourful.

  3. I absolutely agree. Gerald M. Ackerman also wrote that he was probably encouraged by Gerome to paint oriental pieces, and "..he would not have gained entry to a harem.." - still, his paintings are sensuous.


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