Dhows on the Nile, Egypt

Dhows on the Nile, Egypt


William James Müller (1812-1845)
Dhows on the Nile, Egypt

Watercolour over pencil
13 by 36 cm., 5 by 14 in.

Bill Thomson, his sale, Sotheby's, 25th November 1999, lot 56;
Private collection, UK

This dates from Müller's tour of Greece and Egypt in 1838-39. He left Bristol in September 1838 and spent six weeks in Athens before continuing to Alexandria in early November. Müller was excited by the novelty of Egypt since …`a halo of mystery still lingered around this land of the ancient East. Müller was only twenty-six and, with his exceptionally fine eye for colour, light and shade, his imagination must have been fired by everything he saw (see Cyril Bunt,
The Life and Work of William James Müller of Bristol, 1948, p.37).

The crowded streets, exotic costumes and bazaars enthralled Müller, especially in Cairo, and he subsequently sailed up the Nile as far as Luxor, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. He returned to Bristol in the Spring of 1839. Two other Nile views by Müller are in the British Museum (see Greenacre and Stoddard,
W.J. Müller 1812-1845, exhibition catalogue, 1991, nos. 100 and 101, ill.).