1822 - 1904
The Copper Market, Cairo

Watercolour on paper, signed and dated ‘1863’ bottom left
Image size: 15 1/4 x 23 1/2 inches (39 x 60 cm)
Orientalist style gilt frame


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Over the course of forty-six years Goodall dedicated 170 paintings to the theme of Egypt. It was in 1858 that Goodall made his first visit to the country, equipped with letters of introduction from the already popular David Roberts. There he met fellow artist Carl Haag and the two travelled and camped with Bedouins in order to collect realistic sketches of Egyptian daily life. They made trips from Giza to Suez, capturing pyramids, sunsets, and souks, collecting robes, mashrabiyyah and other Egyptian artefacts to include in their paintings. Goodall made his second trip in 1870.

The Egyptian theme was prominent in his work and this painting is a perfect example of Goodall’s insight into this particular street in Cairo. The artist would have been seated at the side of the street, quickly sketching what he saw in front of him. The visible brush strokes indicate both his drawing in situ and the hustle and bustle of the busy street. The area of the Copper Market must have had a specific draw on Goodall as he returned in 1871 to paint a second watercolour of this scene.


Frederick Goodall

Frederick Goodall trained with his father Edward Goodall (1795-1870), a renowned steel line engraver who engraved many of Turner’s works. He was one of six brothers and four sisters of which four of them, became artists including his brother Edward Angelo Goodall, who was also a talented painter. During his childhood, the family had many regular visitors to their home including, John Ruskin, Augustus Pugin, David Roberts, and Turner who encouraged Frederick and Edward to take up the profession. Frederick’s first commission, for Isambard Brunel, was six watercolour paintings of the Rotherhithe Tunnel. Four these were exhibited as the Royal Academy at aged sixteen, and he went on exhibit twenty-seven times between 1938 and 1859 at the Royal Academy. Goodall’s earlier work was devoted to painting subjects of British history from around 1850. His art changed after the Egyptian occupation in 1858 when he started painting Orientalist themes and scenes of life in Cairo. These themes increased the positive reception of his work at the time. His boosted reputation also allowed him to win the election at the Royal Academy in 1860 which led to a significant personal exhibition at the Burlington House. Goodall, not only received high praise from critics and artists in his lifetime, but he also became a man of great wealth.