Orientalist watercolour of a Middle Eastern scene by Stephanoff

By Stephanoff, James (English, 1784-1874)


Rendered in delicate watercolours, this dynamic figurative Orientalist scene depicts a heated interaction, as a crowd watches on in anticipation.


Questions about this piece?


This lively watercolour is by the British artist James Stephanoff (1784-1874). Appointed historical painter in watercolours to King William IV in 1830, Stephanoff specialised in historical reconstructions and depictions of public ceremonies. His work is housed in important public collections including the RA and the British Museum.

The foreground is dominated by a dynamic scene. A Middle Eastern Sultan enters the canvas on a beautiful white horse, dressed in ornate red and gold garments. The Sultan reaches forward with his right hand, gesturing towards a beautiful woman whose pale skin and white dress mark her from the rest of the crowd. The young woman appears to be being offered to the Sultan, whose outstretched gesture suggests that he accepts. The interaction is eagerly watched by a large crowd, who react with a variety of expressions; some examine the woman with interest, whilst others appear more forlorn. The artist imbues the scene with a strong sense of character, unusual for early Orientalist works like this painting.

The scene takes place in a non-specific Middle Eastern landscape, indicated by the architectural styles, in particular the large mosque in the background. The mosque features extensive decoration and impressive symmetry even on a small scale, showing the skill of the artist.

The canvas is signed and dated 'J. Stephanoff 1855' in the lower left corner.

Rendered with superb watercolour technique, this figurative scene is brimming with character, and would make a wonderful early addition to a collection of Orientalist art.

Paper: Height 22cm, width 30cm
Frame: Height 45cm, width 51.5cm, depth 3cm


Artist / Maker
By Stephanoff, James (English, 1784-1874)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
Figurative Art, Orientalist
Giltwood, Paper, Watercolour


45 cm / 17.7 inches
51.5 cm / 20.1 inches
3 cm / 1.2 inches


Free International Shipping

This item qualifies for free international shipping, inclusive of professional packing and insurance.
Terms and conditions apply.