Study for Mehmet Ali Pasha

Study for Mehmet Ali Pasha

c. 1844

John Frederick Lewis

(British, 1805-1876)

Watercolor, gouache, black chalk, and graphite

Support: Cream wove paper

Sheet: 36.2 x 24.6 cm (14 1/4 x 9 11/16 in.); Secondary Support: 44.3 x 33 cm (17 7/16 x 13 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1986.78

Location

Fun Fact

Lord Elphinstone, governor of Madras, described this drawing in an 1845 letter as "the best, and in fact, the only good likeness [of Mehmet Ali Pasha] I have seen, and I saw it within a quarter of an hour of leaving the original."

Description

This drawing was a study for a larger watercolor (now at the Victoria and Albert Museum) of Mehmet Ali Pasha, considered by many as the "Father of Modern Egypt." While European travel to the Middle East burgeoned during the mid 19th century, John Frederick Lewis was more intrepid than most, living and painting in Cairo for a decade. Upon his return to England in 1851, he astonished London audiences with more than 600 watercolors that conjured an exotic world of sumptuous colors and textures articulated in painstaking detail.

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