Mosul at Dawn

Mosul at Dawn. Arthur Melville ARSA RSW (1855–1904). c. 1888. Watercolour, 12 1/4 x 18 1/4 inches. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

“This watercolour is likely to have been executed in 1888 along with another similar work, Arabs returning from araid, Mosul, 1888 (private collection). Both watercolours show riders, identified by their scarlet banner, crossing the Tigris in the shadow of the walled city. The skyline of mosques and minarets is set against a sun not yet risen.”

“It is possible that the adventure stories and travel writing of an earlier generation lured Melville to more remote lands than his less daring contempories. He passed through Mosul enroute to Constantinople in May 1882. It was a treacherous journey on horseback, during which the artist was pursued by bandits, dodged bullets and endured a spell in prison. Melville revisited his watercolours of Cairo, Baghdad and all places inbetween throughout the 1880s and 90s. His technique is something to marvel at. Apparently simple, it is in fact composed of layer upon layer of watercolour applied and removed; scuffed paper, invisible to the naked eye, deepens the effect, creating body. The more one looks, the more the watercolour reveals.” — Fine Art Society website

The Fine Art Society, London, has most generously given its permission to use information, images, and text from its catalogues in the Victorian Web. The copyright on text and images from their catalogues remains, of course, with the Fine Art Society. [GPL]

Last modified 23 December 2017