Pair of Italian Orientalist watercolours by Rappini

By Rappini, Vittorio (Italian, 1877-1939)


This charming pair of watercolour paintings, by the celebrated Rappini, portrays Orientalist scenes of the quiet moments enjoyed by women in a harem.


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This pair of Italian Orientalist watercolours is by the leading painter Vittorio Rappini. Each watercolour is contained by a large gold mount within a carved giltwood frame.

The watercolours depict scenes from the everyday lives of women in a harem. The painting to the left portrays two women seated on the floor, one of whom regards herself in a looking glass while the other casts her eyes downwards. The setting is distinctly Islamic, with carpets strewn on the floor, the walls lined with beautiful blue and white tiles, and a Moorish octagonal table with brass brazier on the floor beside the two women. The mount is titled ‘In the Harem / Rappini.’

The second watercolour, entitled ‘The fortune-teller / Rappini’, depicts one young and one older woman, the younger odalisque-type figure lying across a chaise longue and the older holding tarot cards in her hands. Like the first watercolour, this painting is executed with a fluid, painterly style, especially evident in the soft silks worn by the reclining woman.

Both paintings demonstrate Rappini’s skill in presenting a variety of textures and materials, whether the glistening of the brass brasier or the sheen of soft silk, or the interwoven texture of a textile or rug.

Each work is signed ‘Rappini’, one in the lower left and the other lower right.

Frame: 48cm, width 58cm, depth 3.5cm
Sheet: 24cm, width 34cm


Artist / Maker
By Rappini, Vittorio (Italian, 1877-1939)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 20th Century
Early 20th Century
Figurative Art, Orientalist
Giltwood, Paper, Watercolour
Gold, Multi-coloured


48 cm / 18.9 inches
58 cm / 22.8 inches
3.5 cm / 1.2 inches


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