"Arabs in Conversation in a Ruined Temple", oil on wooden panel, signed W. Muller (William James Muller), dated 43 (1843). Labels verso.
Dimensions : 205mm x 165mm x 6mm. Weight : 0.220kg net.
Condition/Notes : Quite good. The oil on wood panel is in quite good condition with good colour. The study depicts a group of Arabian characters sat in conversation with hookahs and other standing figures in an Islamic style building with surrounding structures and trees probably within the confines of a mosque.
Muller spent 1843 in Lycia working with the British Government expedition so this study could well be in that region of Turkey.
There is no significant paint loss apart from a few small spots near the top edge and the upper rh edge, probably caused by abrasion from a previous frame, but there is significant craqueleur all over the painting but this is stable. The painting has been lightly varnished.
The artist's signature is in the lower lh corner in his usual manner with the date 43 below. There is a small bump at the lower lh corner of the panel and an 8mm abrasion on the upper lh edge 15mm down from the top lh corner. The panel is in good structural condition.
Verso has considerable marking from previous frame tape which has been applied and removed at various times again confirming that the painting was previously framed. There are also impression marks to the edges in places where nails have been positioned. There is stencilled in black ink across the lower quarter "4 O S B G" . In the centre is an old faded label with indistinct handscript "..................................Arabs in conversation in a ...........ruined temple William Muller £25-0-0". £25-0-0 is written again in black ink below the label. Above the label is written again the same text with a space left between "in a" ....and ..."ruined temple" for the indistinct word. William Muller written below. There also appears to be more handscript in faded blue ink below the above but it is unreadable. Any further interpretation of the script will be added.
Overall, a very interesting work of this well known Bristol School artist which ties in well with his recorded biographical details.
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