Watercolours of the Middle East 1874

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This fascinating collection of travel sketches includes  vibrant Egyptian views around the Nile, at Kalabsha, Assouan and Ashmant Island, as well as interesting scenes in Ancient Sumeria (now southern Iraq) and at Nablus on the West Bank. These paintings capture the perceived exoticism of this region before the British occupation of Egypt in 1882. Painted mainly from life in the spring of 1874, it captures the beauty of a country as yet untouched by the aggressive hand of imperialism. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, British trade and tourist travel to Egypt grew exponentially. Artists especially were drawn to its landscapes. The intrepid ones, such as William Holman Hunt, Eugène Delacroix and Jean-Léon Gérôme, made the journey, fuelling the European taste for Orientalist pictures - the painter of this collection following in the footsteps of these illustrious forebears.