Before the Revolutionary War, Spain had little attraction for foreign travelers. After the war, Spain began to acquire an aura of exoticism and extravagance which attracted a good number of onlookers, mostly French and English. The Moorish Andalusia, the guerrilla fighter, the obscurantist Church, the generous bandit, the handsome bullfighter, the lady with mantilla, the barefoot children, the beggar full of rags ... They wanted to see a different country, and when they did not see it they just invented.
A score of several English painters, John Bagnold Burgess, Edwin Long, Robert Kemm and Trevor Haddon, among others, disclosed aspects of the most typical clichés about Spain, as could it be otherwise, Andalusia concerning a land that "admired and despised" but acting on their retina "as a powerful magnet."
John Bagnold Burgess: Born in Chelsea (1829-1897). He was an English artist known for his paintings of historical and genre scenes, mainly in Spain. John came from a family of remarkable painters: his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather and a couple of uncles.
Burgess started his career by painting portraits and genre works, before travelling to Spain in 1858, accompanied by his friend and fellow artist Edwin Long - who would become his travelling companion on future painting trips to the country. For the next thirty years, Burgess was an annual visitor to Spain, often spending days with Spanish peasants, living their life and sharing their food. He also went to Morocco at least once.
Burgess's first great success was his "Bravo Toro" in 1865, followed by "Stolen by Gypsies", "Kissing Relics in Spain" , "The Barber's Prodigy" and "Licensing Beggars in Spain" . In 1877, Burgess was elected an associate of the Royal Academy. He died from the congenital heart disease which had troubled him all his life, and was buried in the Paddington Cemetery at Willesden.
Edwin Long: Born in Bath, Somerset (1829-1891). Long was an English genre, history, biblical and portrait painter. Long made the acquaintance of John Phillip and accompanied him to Spain, where they spent much time. Long was greatly influenced by the paintings of Velázquez and other Spanish masters.
Robert Kemm: Born in London (1827-1895). He traveled to Spain, especially Andalusia, seeking inspiration in landscapes and genre scenes. Embodied on canvas delicious figures of fighters, bandits, beggars, guitar and various celebrities. Many of his works reflect the atmosphere of the city of Seville.
Trevor Haddon: Born in Greater London (1864-1941). Haddon was a painter and watercolourist of the Italian and Spanish landscape and country genre. Travelled extensively in North and South America, including Venezuela, between 1921 and 1930. Author of The Old Venetian Palaces, Southern Spain and other works. Lived mainly in London and latterly, in Cambridge, where he died, aged 77.