Sir David Wilkie

His Highness Muhemed Ali, Pacha of Egypt

1841

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
Medium
Oil paint on board
Dimensions
Support: 610 x 508 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by the Earl of Effingham 1927
Reference
N04276

Display caption

The Albanian soldier, Muhammad Ali (1769–1849), was governor of Egypt. Despite his allegiance to the Turkish Sultan, he ruled and modernised his country as an autocrat. Wilkie met him in Egypt in 1841 on his return journey from the Near East where he had studied the people and landscape of the region for a series of biblical subjects. These were never realised, as he died on the journey home. The portrait presents the pasha in traditional Islamic dress but sitting in a European chair and wearing a fez, a sign of modernisation across the Ottoman Empire.

Gallery label, November 2016

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