19th century British painter Edwin Longesden Long began his career as portrait painter.
He became friends with painter John Phillip, who was noted for his portrayals of life in Spain, and accompanied him on trips there, where he painted Spanish genre scenes and was introduced to the works of Velázquez and other great Spanish painters.
Long was modestly successful as a portraitist and genre painter, but it was after trips to Egypt and Syria in 1874 that he shifted his focus, and his success and recognition came as an orientalist, painting large elaborate pictures of Biblical subjects and exotic tableaux of scenes from the Middle East like The Babylonian Marriage Market (images above, top, with detail).
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the latter painting in person, and it’s easy to see why Long’s work was in demand and at high prices. He filled these beautifully painted large canvasses not only with attractive people, particularly women in exotic costume, but with richly detailed archeological objects, recreated with great accuracy.