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Edward William Cooke RA - Quarries of Tourah, Cairo 1874
  • Edward William Cooke RA - Quarries of Tourah, Cairo 1874

    Many of Cooke's artistic contempories had visited the Middle East and Egypt in particular to great success. Most notably, David Roberts in the 1830s and later William James Müller, John Frederick Lewis, Edward Lear and Frederick Goodall. Cooke eventually had his opportunity to visit Egypt in early 1874 which was to be a 'geological-horticultural-antiquarian excursion as well as a painting trip afloat the Nile'. [1] 


    Our drawing depicts an Egyptian 'dahabieh' (which was a houseboat) on the Nile passing the quarries of Tourah. The dahabieh was named Queen Victoria after the reigning monarch and flew a British flag. Cooke visited Feshan, Sohag, Luxor, Karnak, Aswan and numerous other locations along the Nile. He produced a large amount of sketches along the way and these are amongst the most desirable of the artist's output. This is due to a large proportion of these being in museum collections and few remaining in private hands. The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Academy have some of the best examples, with the later having a similar drawing which relates closely to ours. It is titled 'The Dahabieh Passing a Sandbank off Tourah' and has minor differences to our work including the depiction of the decking of the dahabieh and its sails. Sixteen of Cooke's Egyptian views (including ours) were engraved in the second volume of his book 'Leaves from my Sketchbook' (1877)


    Medium: pencil on prepared paper (Penny's patent 'metallic paper'), 12.5 x 20 cm, signed l.l. 'EW Cooke RA', titled l.c. and l.r. 'Cairo, Quarries of Tourah', framed.


    Provenance: Nonesuch Gallery, 'Travel c.1650 - 1950' exhibition, number 30 (label verso).


    Literature: Engraved for Cooke's book 'Leaves from my Sketchbook', Volume II, London (1877), The Dahabieh Passing a Sandbank off Tourah.




    [1] John Munday. E.W. Cooke 1811-1880: A man of his time, London: 1996. p.208. See Chapter 13 for a fully overview of this trip.


    Condition report: some flaking on the paper is obvious when viewed closely, this is due to Cooke using metallic paper for some of his Egyptian sketches. Please view photos closely. The frame has small chips throughout which have been painted over.

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