Orientalist painting of a coastal scene with minaret by Berchère

By Berchère, Narcisse (French, 1819-1891)


Filled with careful detail, this highly atmospheric painting by French artist Berchère depicts a towering minaret set against a dusty blue sky.


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In this evocative painting, Narcisse Berchère (1819-1891) invites the viewer into an unconfirmed coastal town, in which an ornate mosque dominates. The setting is likely the Middle East, or possibly Egypt, where Berchère is known to have travelled extensively.

A large part of the canvas is taken up by the mosque, the crumbling exterior of which indicates the historicity of the building. From the left side extends a towering minaret, which is decorated and features a wooden balcony halfway up, as well as another viewing point at the very top of the tower. In the right background protrudes a white rounded dome with a spire – a typical design for Middle Eastern mosques at the time.

The earthy tones of the minaret and mosque are complemented by the surrounding landscape. On the dusty ground in the left middle ground sit several green trees, as well as two tall palm trees. In the very background, a glimpse of a harbour can be seen, accompanied by most likely towering boat sails. The coastal atmosphere is aided by the inclusion of several seagulls dotted around the sky. Several figures are dotted around the scene, dressed in robes and hijabs/turbans that match the colour palette of the environment.

The work is rendered with superb, somewhat gestural painterly skill, with the masterful technique seen particularly in the handling of light and the soft patches of cloud.

Ensconced in a beautifully carved giltwood frame, the painting is signed ‘Berchere’ in the lower left corner, and is indistinctly dated, possibly (18)55. An inscribed plaque also adorns the bottom of the frame. Berchère was a French painter and engraver, most renowned for his Orientalist scenes.

This exquisite painting would be sure to bring the calm atmosphere of the scene into an interior space.

Canvas: Height 46cm, width 38cm
Frame: Height 74cm, width 67cm, depth 10cm


Artist / Maker
By Berchère, Narcisse (French, 1819-1891)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
19th Century
Landscape, Marine / Seascape, Orientalist
Oil on Canvas


74 cm / 29.1 inches
67 cm / 26.4 inches
10 cm / 3.9 inches


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