Sir David Wilkie

His Highness Muhemed Ali, Pacha of Egypt

1841

In 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

This is a portrait of the Albanian Khedive (ruler) of Egypt, Muhammad Ali (1769–1849). He was a commander in the Ottoman army and had seized power after a civil war. Muhammad Ali oversaw dramatic reforms of Egyptian military, economy and culture. He commissioned this work from Wilkie. Here, he presents himself in traditional Islamic dress but sitting in a European chair and wearing a fez rather than the traditional turban. Wilkie met Muhammad Ali in Egypt on his return journey from travels in the Middle East. This was Wilkie’s last painting, he fell ill and died on his journey back to Britain.

Gallery label, August 2018

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