Nora H. Silver, Girl on Steps 'Sadia', Tangier, Morocco - 1892/3 watercolour


An original 1892/3 watercolour painting, Nora H. Silver Girl on Steps 'Sadia', Tangier, Morocco.

A sweet watercolour painting produced by a British woman in Tangier in 1892-3.

Inscribed lower left and verso.
Minor toning to the upper right corner, caused by historic glue to the verso.
22.2cm x 17.1cm.

This painting forms part of a fascinating collection of works by a Nora Helen Silver which document Tangier seen through the eyes of a British woman at the end of the 19th century. The pictures are a testament to the complex co-existence of communities in Tangier at that time. Morocco was ruled by the sultan Hassan I, but this was a town that through the 19th century had suffered an influx of European diplomatic corps: from the arrival of Sir John Drummond as British representative in Morocco in 1845 and the wider threat posed by a Spanish invasion of Morocco in 1860, through to the predominance of the French by the 1870s, and ultimately, to the establishment of Tangier as an International Zone in the early 20th century, under the joint administration of France, Spain, and Britain.

Nora Helen Silver evidently resided at a substantial residence in Tangier between 1892 and 1893 (one painting is a view from ‘Our balcony’). She was apparently well-acquainted with some of the most important figures in Tangier’s British expatriate community. Her sketches include ‘W.B. Harris’ - Walter Burton Harris, a journalist, writer, traveller and socialite who achieved fame for his writings on Morocco; ‘Lady Green’, wife of Sir William Kirby Green, appointed British Minister to Tangier in the 1880s; and ‘Lady Ridgeway’, wife of Sir Joseph West Ridgeway, head of a special mission sent to Morocco in 1893.

The city was also a well-established cultural haven for artists, from Eugene Delacroix earlier in the century, through to the arrival of Sir John Lavery in 1891 (and later, Henri Matisse) - all feeding the taste for the Orient in the European popular imagination. The paintings in this collection capture the artist’s impression of the local people, flora and fauna - palms, donkeys and locusts - but also goes further, giving insight into the city’s co-existing communities, and the Jewish community in particular. Tangier has a rich Jewish history, and historically had a thriving Jewish Quarter, or mellah, with its own synagogues, cemeteries, schools and hospitals.

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Product code: JN-929

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