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 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.

Updated March 2023

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  • artist:
    Arthur MelvilleScottish (1855 - 1904)
  • title:
    An Arab Interior
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    95.00 x 72.80 cm; Framed: 122.00 x 98.60 x 13.50 cm / 26.00 kg
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequest of Sir James Lewis Caw 1951
  • accession number:
    NG 2144
  • gallery:
  • subject:
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Arthur Melville

Arthur Melville

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