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An Arab Interior 1881

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Melville's experiences in Egypt inspired his fascination with the decorative potential of light and shadow. He explored the exquisite, scintillating patterns of the Musharabeyah woodwork of this Arab 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.

Glossary Open


The timber lattice-work on upper-storey windows in Islamic architecture.



  • Acc. No. NG 2144
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 95.00 x 72.80 cm (Framed 122.1 x 98.80 x 13.10 cm)
  • Credit Bequest of Sir James Lewis Caw 1951