Painted by Narcisse Berchère (1819-1891), a renowned French painter and engraver, this outstanding oil on canvas depicts a late 19th century genre scene. The scene is set in Damietta, the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt.
Muted tones predominate the colour palette employed by Berchère. The background is filled with trees and buildings, while the foreground features animals and humans during their everyday activities. The sky is beautifully rendered in shades of blues, pinks and oranges suggesting the scene is set during sunset or sunrise.
Animals such as a donkey and a camel are seen carrying baskets and other objects, aiding humans at work. Two female figures, dressed in dark clothing accessorised with vibrant jewellery are standing in a river, collecting water. Onlookers standing on the bridge on the far right as well as on the viewing terrace in the centre are observing hard-at-work groups below.
This fine painting by Berchère is signed and dated to the lower right ‘Berchere. 1873’. The location depicted by the artist is easily recognisable due to the markings to the lower left reading ‘Damiette. Egte’, making this painting an impressive find.