Tombs of Great Arab Saints to be seen in the Neighborhood of Rosetta, Egypt

Luigi Mayer Italian

Not on view

Trained in Rome, Mayer was employed for much of his career by Sir Robert Ainslie (1729–1812), the British ambassador to the Ottoman court between 1777 and 1793. In 1792, Ainslie asked Mayer to accompany a group of British Grand Tourists from Constantinople to Egypt, then around Mediterranean sites. This watercolor relates to that trip and describes Muslim tombs at Rosetta, a town on the Nile between Cairo and Alexandria. After Ainslie returned to England, it was reproduced in Views in Egypt, a set of forty-eight hand-colored aquatints published by Robert Bowyer in 1801. Characteristically, the artist enhances accurate architectural information with evocative detail, and shows women collecting water near turbaned men who guard the tombs. Such prints informed European viewers about contemporary Egypt.

Tombs of Great Arab Saints to be seen in the Neighborhood of Rosetta, Egypt, Luigi Mayer (Italian, Rome (?) ca. 1755–1803), Watercolour and bodycolor, over graphite

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