Subsiding the Nile

Subsiding the Nile, 1873
Frederick Goodall (1822-1904)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 00908
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Subsiding the Nile

The scene in this painting is bathed in sunlight and focuses on the landscape following the subsiding of the waters of the Nile. It shows the Giza Plateau from the south east with the Great Pyramid of Khufu on the right and the Pyramid of Khafra on the left behind the palm trees. The Sphinx is just visible in the centre distance.

The painting was completed in England. The sheep in the foreground were painted from a flock he bought in Egypt and sent to England to be used as models. Everyday life is shown with a village on the left and, in the centre, women going about their daily business, tending the sheep, and filling a pot with water. The Egyptian theme was prominent in Goodall’s work, with 170 paintings being exhibited at the Royal Academy over 46 years.

This painting is a replica by the artist of his own work exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1873, which is now at Cape Town City Hall. Merton, who knew the artist, called it in his autobiography ‘a fine conception of the subject’.

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