An Eastern Tale
Rooke worked for Morris & Co, from where John Ruskin (1819-1900) hired him to make architectural drawings in 1879 as part of his project to record buildings and landscapes under threat of development or demolition. This took Rooke to France and Italy. The watercolours commissioned by Ruskin are now in the Ruskin Museum in Sheffield. As well as working for Ruskin, Rooke remained with Morris & Co, where he was a studio assistant for and good friends with Edward Burne-Jones. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Grosvenor Gallery. Several of Rooke's completed oil paintings refer to biblical scenes and stories, possibly indicating his interest in the 'East' of this watercolour. It does not appear that Rooke ever travelled outside Europe. In this period 'the East' was often used generically to refer to countries and cultures east of Europe, typically including parts of Asia and North Africa.