About this artwork

Melville's experiences in Egypt inspired his fascination with the decorative potential of light and shadow. He explored the exquisite, scintillating patterns of the mashrabiyya woodwork of this interior, balancing its intricacy against a broader treatment of reflective materials and surface patterns within the room. The seated man's composure and the restrained yet warm colouring of his garments complement the pervading stillness and serenity of the scene. The painting was worked up from sketches made in Cairo in 1881.

Audio commentary

This commentary is part of the National audio tour. Listen to the whole tour in Smartify.

Updated March 2023

see media
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Tell us what you think.

Arthur Melville

Arthur Melville