William James Müller

Street in a Near Eastern Town

1838

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 247 x 145 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Lady Weston as part of the Sir Joseph Weston Gift 1908
Reference
N02352

Display caption

Müller was one of the first British artists to go to Egypt, travelling there in 1838–9. He wrote that ‘of all the spots I had ever seen for the artist’ this sort of street scene ‘would prove the most fertile for his pencil’.

The Islamic world had long fascinated Western audiences, though they had generally been satisfied with recycled fantasies. Müller’s sketch represents a new, eye-witness approach. By the late 1830s biblical archaeology, and an escalation of European diplomatic and military activity in the area, fuelled demand for more convincing documentary images of the Middle East.

Gallery label, September 2004

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