The painter Willem de Famars Testas, born in Utrecht, started his artistic career at the academy in The Hague, after which he developed into a good painter of figures and animals. His career took an odd turn when in 1858 he was asked to join the archaeologist Emile Prisse d'Avenne as a draftsman on an expedition to Egypt. During the two years that the journey lasted, the young painter gained a thorough knowledge of life and customs there and made numerous sketches in his spare time. After his return to Utrecht, he continued to elaborate on this theme. For that reason he is counted among the Dutch Orientalists. In 1868 the painter made another long journey through Palestine and Syria. After his return he moved to Brussels.